The Reading / Listening - The Pronoun 'They' - Level 4

Merriam-Webster added a new definition of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It says "they" also refers to a "single person whose gender identity is non-binary". These are people who identify neither as male nor female. Many places use a gender-neutral option on official forms. Many local governments, schools and airlines have the choice of "X" for people who do not consider themselves as male or female, and for gender fluid people.



Merriam-Webster said using "they" for "he" or "she" recognizes people who did not "conform to an expected gender expression, or who seemed to be neither male nor female". It says the word "they" was used as a singular pronoun in the 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in the 17th century. Also, the 1898 play Antony and Cleopatra has the words: "No man goes to battle to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people use the singular "they" today.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    The Pronoun 'They' - Level 5 or  The Pronoun 'They' - Level 6

Sources
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/09/17/merriam-webster-adds-non-binary-prounoun-they-dictionary/
  • https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/17/us/merriam-webster-nonbinary-pronoun-they-trnd/index.html
  • https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/they


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. added a new
  2. refers to a single
  3. whose gender identity is non-
  4. use a gender-
  5. local
  6. have the choice
  7. consider themselves as male
  8. gender fluid
  1. governments
  2. or female
  3. person
  4. people
  5. binary
  6. neutral option
  7. definition
  8. of "X"

Paragraph 2

  1. using "they"
  2. recognizes people
  3. seemed to be neither
  4. used as a singular
  5. Shakespeare used it
  6. in the 17th
  7. No man goes to
  8. Many people use the singular
  1. century
  2. battle to be killed
  3. in this way
  4. "they" today
  5. pronoun
  6. for "he" or "she"
  7. male nor female
  8. who did not conform

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Merriam-Webster added (1) ___________________ of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It says "they" (2) ___________________ a "single person whose (3) ___________________ non-binary". These are people who (4) ___________________ male nor female. Many places use a gender-neutral option on official forms. Many local governments, schools and airlines have the choice of "X" for people who (5) ___________________ themselves as male or female, and for (6) ___________________.

Merriam-Webster said using "they" for "he" or "she" (7) ___________________ did not "conform to an expected gender expression, or who (8) ___________________ neither male nor female". It says the word "they" was used as (9) ___________________ in the 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in (10) ___________________. Also, the 1898 play Antony and Cleopatra has the words: "No man (11) ___________________ to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people (12) ___________________ "they" today.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Merriam-Websteraddedanewdefinitionofthepronoun"they"toitsW
ebster'sDictionary.Itsays"they"alsoreferstoa"singlepersonwhosege
nderidentityisnon-binary".Thesearepeoplewhoidentifyneitherasmal
enorfemale.Manyplacesuseagender-neutraloptiononofficialforms.M
anylocalgovernments,schoolsandairlineshavethechoiceof"X"forpeo
plewhodonotconsiderthemselvesasmaleorfemale,andforgenderflui
dpeople.Merriam-Webstersaidusing"they"for"he"or"she"recognize
speoplewhodidnot"conformtoanexpectedgenderexpression,orwhos
eemedtobeneithermalenorfemale".Itsaystheword"they"wasusedas
asingularpronouninthe1300s.Shakespeareuseditinthiswayinthe17t
hcentury.Also,the1898playAntonyandCleopatrahasthewords:"Nom
angoestobattletobekilled....Buttheydogetkilled."Manypeopleusethe
singular"they"today.

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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