While i was pondering the long list of things that annoy me, i thought of the bizarre nature of pronouns. Some things about them make little sense from my perspective as a professional prescriptive linguist. (Adam is neither a prescriptive linguist nor a professional.) The first thing that struck me was the word “i.” “Why,” i thought to myself, “is the word ‘i’ capitalized?” “There is no reason conceivable by the likes of me for such a practice.” Here’s a case where i really don’t have much to say. It’s fairly self-explanatory. I have not been capitalizing ‘i’ unless it is at the beginning of the sentence to make a point in this case. As a side note, i am totally in favor of capitalizing the first word in every sentence because the period is a small character and seeing a big letter can help one recognize the beginning of a sentence much better than simply a period can.
[Ed. Note—The Morales, using the knowledge it has gained from various interdimensional existences, knows that “I” is capitalized because small i was very easily lost in moveable type sheets.]
Still on the subject of first-person personal pronouns, a second—seemingly purposeless—practice is the practice of placing said pronouns at the end of lists. It doesn’t interfere with the syntax at all. I can still convey what i wish to an audience despite my controversial syntax. I’m well aware that providing a single example does not prove a point, but this isn’t debate so i’m just going to give an example. Normal sentence: Josephine, Waldo, and I were pirating Star Trek: The Original Series. Grammatically heretical sentence: I, Caroline, and Gerry were watching Star Trek: The Original Series quite legally, because piracy is not a victimless crime. Sure, the second sentence is terrible grammar and makes me cringe hard, but it’s no more ambiguous than the previous sentence.
It’s time to address the singular “they.” Either you like the singular “they,” or you’re an English teacher. This complaint, you may note, is far more in line with my previous rants. While, in reality, i am quite progressive when it comes to the English language, for your entertainment (1993-XX) (seriously, how does this store still exist?) i take a much more concrete approach. From a design standpoint, we should not use ‘they’ as a third-person singular pronoun that does not imply gender when we already have a third-person singular pronoun that does not imply gender: “it.” For whatever ungodly reason, it is T O T A L L Y U N A C C E P T A B L E to use “it” to describe a person. This is pointless. Why have a word with so little utility? Because of the way “it” has developed, “it” cannot be used to describe a person. Of course, we adapted by using “they” instead.
Therefore, i decree the following things:
That the word “i” only be capitalized when one would capitalize any other (nonspiritual) pronoun.
That syntax demanding “i,” “me,” and variations thereof be ordered to sit in the corner and contemplate its uselessness and then we can get rid of it.
That the singular “they” be abandoned for the truly singular “it.”
Addendum to Rather Ridiculous Rant 2: Annoying Things People Say, etc.
I use the expression “cringe hard” here. I am aware that “hard” is an adjective and not an adverb; unfortunately, this seems to be acceptable in speech now. As far back as “rest easy,” people have been using adjectives as adverbs. Of course, now, the “good/well” controversy dominates. I, however, have a counter to people who do not like this use of “good.” The response “I am good” is technically correct under a cursory examination. Good is a predicate adjective that describes “I.” To say “I am well” is to say that one is not sick. At the same time, “I’m doing good” is also totally correct if we use the noun form of “good.” Of course, that is not the case in this example. In this case, “I’m doing well” is far preferable to “I’m doing good,” but, in general, “I’m good” is preferable to “I’m well.”