If I refer to 'the being' (as a noun) do I have to use he / she / it, or something else?

To add to my confusion: I am talking about a painting, where 'the being' is a woman. So the body has the shape of an anchor that arises from the depths. The whiteness represents purity. The vast sea represents the subconscious mind, which is integrated into the conscious awareness, (manifested by the position above water’s surface). The being has swum through all the stages of... etc.

Holding her (its?) attention to the greatest source of love, within her heart, she (it?) has relinquished the unnecessary things of the past (the dark colours on both sides of the painting) and affirms her (its?) whole presence. Just like a pendulum her (its/the?) body is held by the renewable power of life... etc.

1 Answer 1


The correct pronoun to use depends on what you're referring to. If in this painting you're referring to anything related to the female subject of the painting specifically, you would use she. If you're talking about the strokes or the style or anything with regards to the painting, you should use it/its, unless of course you're referencing the painter's choices themselves in which case you should use he/she as would be appropriate.

In the sample sentences you have provided all of your pronouns are correct.

  • Thank you for your answer Cantalouping, I am still puzzled. Maybe I should have explained the question better: 'The being' in my first language is similar to 'the soul' so in this case what should I say when I have to describe its / her / his journey, if the painting has a female subject (but the painter wants to focus on 'the soul' or 'the being'?)
    – HarpGirl
    May 14, 2017 at 11:55
  • @HarpGirl The soul of a female subject/human/animal/whatever is still generally referred to with it.
    – user3395
    May 14, 2017 at 12:10

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