The Purpose of Words, and Style

A Point of Contact

Pronouns are like kaleidoscopes, how you see them kind of changes but the colors, shapes and origins of the design stays the same. Pronouns come in and out of fashion, and they seem right or wrong, but it’s all just a matter of the times. McWhorter spends some time explaining this with examples of such common “wrong” assumptions as “Tell each student to hand in their paper” and “Billy and me”. The logic behind these mistakes is faulty, and often goes back to the imposing of Latin structure onto English.

Clear examples of changing pronoun use include such outdated words as Thee, Thou, and Yee. No one really knows why these things change, they just do, and it’s really not a big deal – it’s fashion. During the transition, however, people will often criticize and complain about poor English. McWhorter gives an example of a guy named

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