Not even the dictionary would support actor James Woods after he decided that now was a good time to wade into the debate over personal pronouns. The former voice actor from Disney’s Hercules warned of “hare-brained liberals” bullying people into using “they” as a singular pronoun in a rant on Twitter.
Please join me in using proper grammar, syntax, and spelling. The correct pronoun usage in the English language is “he” for a singular male and “she” for a singular female. “They” is used for the plural of either males, females, or both. Don’t be bullied by hare-brained liberals.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) February 11, 2019
Woods, who has long attempted to turn his celebrity into a way to get noticed for his over-the-top conservative views, probably expected some heat — but he probably didn’t picture the dictionary coming after him.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) February 12, 2019
As Dictionary.com pointed out, “they” has been used as a singular pronoun since the 1300s, and held on for centuries, before falling out of favor in the mid 1700s. Many have pressed for a gender-neutral pronoun ever since, and it has still been used as a singular pronoun in an abstract form.
“They” has seen a revival in recent year as more and more are opting for a gender-neutral pronoun in their daily lives, or simply as a way to describe a person, place, or thing without having to assign it a gender.
Twitter users were quick to side with the dictionary.com tweet, with most reveling in the dictionary dunking on Woods.
Lol! James got dragged thru the Woo…never mind!
— Dopely Carmichael (@African2win) February 12, 2019
Damn, the fifth billed lead in "Any Given Sunday" just got DUNKED on by a book.
— ⚔️M.Z.S.🏰 (@TheTableRound) February 14, 2019
Others had a more grateful tone for the response, such as Twitter user Becca, aka @MellifluousSunF
“The impact this one tweet can have on literally tens of thousands of people is astounding,” said Becca. “Yet you always hit the nail on the head, every time. You always stick up for the LGBTQ+ community and do your part even though no one even expects it of you. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
The impact this one tweet can have on literally tens of thousands of people is astounding. Yet you always hit the nail on the head, every time. You always stick up for the LGBTQ+ community and do your part even though no one even expects it of you. THANK YOU SO MUCH. 💞💖💞
— 💝🌻 Becca 🌻💝 (@MellifluousSunF) February 12, 2019
At any rate, it would seem that when the dictionary schools you, it’s best to remain schooled.