The Reading / Listening - The Pronoun 'They' - Level 5

The company Merriam-Webster has added a new definition of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It lists the word "they" as referring to a "single person whose gender identity is non-binary". This is good news for non-binary people - those who identify neither as male nor female. Many institutions already use a gender-neutral option on their official forms. More local governments, schools and airlines are introducing the choice of "X" for people who do not consider themselves as male or female, and for gender fluid people who switch between genders.



Merriam-Webster stated that the use of "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 said it "struggled" to describe these people with the right pronouns. It says the word "they" was used as a singular pronoun in the late 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in the 17th century. In 1898, a playwright wrote in his play Antony and Cleopatra that: "No man goes to battle to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people use the singular "they" in casual conversation today.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    The Pronoun 'They' - Level 4 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 definition of the
  2. referring
  3. non-
  4. local
  5. introducing the choice
  6. consider themselves
  7. gender fluid
  8. switch
  1. binary people
  2. people
  3. of "X"
  4. between genders
  5. pronoun
  6. to a single person
  7. governments
  8. as male or female

Paragraph 2

  1. people who did not
  2. be neither male
  3. it struggled to describe these
  4. used as a singular pronoun in
  5. Shakespeare used it
  6. No man goes to battle
  7. Many people use the
  8. in casual
  1. in this way
  2. singular "they"
  3. nor female
  4. conversation
  5. people
  6. the late 1300s
  7. to be killed
  8. conform

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

The company Merriam-Webster has added (1) ___________________ of the pronoun "they" to its Webster's Dictionary. It lists the word "they" as referring to a "single person (2) ___________________ is non-binary". This is good news for non-binary people - those (3) ___________________ as male nor female. Many institutions already use a gender-neutral option on (4) ___________________. More local governments, schools and airlines are introducing the choice of "X" for people who (5) ___________________ themselves as male or female, and for gender fluid people who (6) ___________________.

Merriam-Webster stated that the use of "they" for "he" or "she" (7) ___________________ did not "conform to an expected gender expression, or who seemed to (8) ___________________ nor female". It said it "struggled" to describe these people with (9) ___________________. It says the word "they" was used as (10) ___________________ in the late 1300s. Shakespeare used it in this way in the 17th century. In 1898, a playwright wrote in his play Antony and Cleopatra that: "No man (11) ___________________ to be killed....But they do get killed." Many people use the singular "they" (12) ___________________ today.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

ThecompanyMerriam-Websterhasaddedanewdefinitionofthepronou
n"they"toitsWebster'sDictionary.Itliststheword"they"asreferringto
a"singlepersonwhosegenderidentityisnon-binary".Thisisgoodnewsf
ornon-binarypeople-thosewhoidentifyneitherasmalenorfemale.M
anyinstitutionsalreadyuseagender-neutraloptionontheirofficialform
s.Morelocalgovernments,schoolsandairlinesareintroducingthechoic
eof"X"forpeoplewhodonotconsiderthemselvesasmaleorfemale,andf
orgenderfluidpeoplewhoswitchbetweengenders.Merriam-Webste
rstatedthattheuseof"they"for"he"or"she"recognizespeoplewhodidn
ot"conformtoanexpectedgenderexpression,orwhoseemedtobeneith
ermalenorfemale".Itsaidit"struggled"todescribethesepeoplewithth
erightpronouns.Itsaystheword"they"wasusedasasingularpronounin
thelate1300s.Shakespeareuseditinthiswayinthe17thcentury.In189
8,aplaywrightwroteinhisplayAntonyandCleopatrathat:"Nomangoes
tobattletobekilled....Buttheydogetkilled."Manypeopleusethesingula
r"they"incasualconversationtoday.

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.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

Help Support This Web Site

  • Please consider helping Breaking News English.com

Sean Banville's Book

Thank You