Questions tagged [gender]

For questions about using gendered words or phrases in English.

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19 votes
7 answers
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Female Devil (and other -ess problems)

Somewhat related: "Are feminine nouns ending with -ess the only proper option for females?" In German, I can slap -in on anything that shall be gendered. No exceptions (or at least I can't ...
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0 votes
0 answers
68 views

Female emperor or empress?

Can a female be called an emperor or should she always be refered as empress? All dictionaries make the distinction, but Wizards of the coasts decided to name a female character The Wandering Emperor, ...
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  • 113
-1 votes
3 answers
177 views

Why do children in England call a female teacher "Sir"? [closed]

I'm a female teacher assistant and I found very weird that English children (from England) call me "Sir," I would be more comfortable if they called me "Madam," as adults do when ...
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10 votes
6 answers
3k views

When referring to a gender-neutral entity in a paper such as an "agent", what pronouns and conjugation style should I use nowadays?

I'm writing a theoretical (control theory) paper. I'm not a native English speaker and I need guidance about the following. Often, the subject of my sentences is "an agent", or "...
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  • 111
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

When the Gentle Giant song "Black Cat" refers to a cat as "she", does that mean the cat is female?

In Gentle Giant's song Black Cat it starts as follows: There's a cat prowling through the streets at night And she's black and her eyes are burning yellow My question is: although said cat is ...
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1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Them after she and her

I’ve come across the following sentence: To encourage empathy in your child, encourage your child to talk about her feelings and make sure she knows that you care about them. (Source) Why is them used ...
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  • 5,406
1 vote
2 answers
272 views

Is emasculated a sexist word?

The dictionary definition of emasculated is "(of a man) deprived of his male role or identity." or "made weaker or less effective" So, I'm a guy, and I'm not entirely sure what it ...
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1 vote
3 answers
97 views

Referring to female college age students while writing a novel

I am trying to write a novel. I want to write in a manner that will be respectful toward gender. I have not yet figured out how to refer to female college-age characters quickly and smoothly without ...
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  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
163 views

Gender of Bosom - Is it neutral?

Is "bosom" a gender-neutral word? Can we use it to describe the chest/breast of a man? Eg: She embraced his bosom with passion.
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  • 371
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why sister [nouns] and not brother [nouns]?

I have noticed this quite often that other (closely) related common nouns are called sister [common noun]. For example: This question is off-topic here, but is on-topic on our sister site. This issue ...
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0 votes
1 answer
100 views

Is a reader feminine like the moon or ship?

Is a reader feminine like the moon or a ship? Here I present a few examples from an academic lecture on how to write a good scientific paper. The audience are aspiring authors of future scientific ...
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0 votes
1 answer
114 views

Are there any differences in the ways of speaking English by men and women? Any typical examples?

In Japan, my home country, men and women speak slightly differently in terms of word choice and how to end a sentence, to give you just a few examples. This is especially true in informal situations. ...
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  • 957
1 vote
1 answer
63 views

Which one is more acceptable? [duplicate]

Which one is more acceptable? 1. Each boy and each girl has done his duty. 2. Each boy and each girl has done his or her duty. 3. Each boy and each girl has done their duty. Edit: Here ...
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4 votes
2 answers
796 views

Is using gender-specific language when talking about inanimate things can be wrong in any sense?

Talking about a game called Starfinder and comparing it to an older game by the same publisher called Pathfinder, I used words "older brother" implying the latter: Starfinder also reduces the list ...
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  • 435
24 votes
7 answers
9k views

Can "he" and "man" refer to all genders?

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Qian said, "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
121 views

Kimono Master or Mistress for a lady?

Suppose there is a lady who is a skilled practitioner of Kimono (着物), which is a Japanese traditional costume. Which expression (or title) for her is better (appropriate), Kimono Master or Kimono ...
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  • 473
1 vote
1 answer
399 views

Is Bob gender neutral?

Recently a question on Stack Overflow meta was edited by a moderator to remove the name Nancy with a gender neutral name Bob. His exact words were(emphasis mine) Jon suggested Bob would work too. I ...
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0 votes
2 answers
745 views

Why a truck or a plane is "she"?

In trucker forums, I can see drivers referring to their trucks by pronoun “she”. Similarly a site about an older airplane writes about “restoring her”. I would expect using “it” for all things (...
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  • 103
0 votes
3 answers
385 views

Using "her" to refer to the word "child"

I have confusions about a single sentence The pedagogical view is that the pre-school phase is crucial to stimulate a child’s curiosity and help her prepare for schooling at age six. Can her be ...
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4 votes
1 answer
895 views

Can "Am I the bad guy here?" be said by a girl?

In an interactive story (that's why it is impossible to quote the text), the main character said to herself: Am I the bad guy here? when she was questioning a bad action, which has been done by a ...
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  • 2,452
2 votes
1 answer
115 views

Use of "she" for a general person in a scientifical paper

In this scientific paper published in 2007, the authors wrote (page 684): Note: you don't have to understand the technical part of the following paragraph to understand my question. The set of ...
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  • 671
0 votes
2 answers
408 views

Personal pronoun (when the sex is unspecified) [duplicate]

Trade allows each person to specialize in the activities she does best. Why exactly she (and not he)? Don't we use they in such cases (unspecified sex)?
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1 vote
3 answers
114 views

How we use 'child and parent vs parents'? [closed]

Which one is correct? The small child does whatever his father does. The small child does whatever its father does. The small child does whatever its parent does. The small child does ...
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  • 157
12 votes
3 answers
6k views

How to address a woman in a letter?

When writing a letter or an e-mail to a man I know the (sur-)name of ("Smith"), I would write: Dear Mr. Smith, What should I use when addressing a woman? Is it (like for married women): Dear ...
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  • 221
25 votes
4 answers
14k views

The meaning of "half woman, half girl"

"It was the same mirror I'd gazed into as a child, then as a girl, then as a youth, half woman, half girl." Educated by Tara Westover What does "half woman" mean? (For example: A ...
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  • 5,118
28 votes
9 answers
6k views

How to deal with unknown genders in English?

When I start a sentence with words like "someone" or "somebody", I don't know how to choose the right pronoun at the end of the sentence. Examples: If anybody asks you about the money, tell (Him - ...
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  • 1,926
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the gender of newspaper? What is the grammar behind the term "sister newspapers"?

Recently while I was searching for the information of one of my favourite newspaper I came across an interesting thing about the gender of newspapers. For every newspaper that was owned by a single ...
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0 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do they use "her" for Titanic?

I was reading the Wikipedia's page on RMS Titanic and just noticed numerous references to the ship by possessive her. Why don't they simply use "its" for Titanic?
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1 vote
2 answers
819 views

Which adjective to use for a personification of living being (her/his or its)?

Which adjective to use for a personification of living being (her/his or its)? Nature offers its/her lap to one who seeks it. Death completes its/his course, no one can stop it/him. I was ...
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  • 1,695
0 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can I use "She" and "her" for an animal? [duplicate]

Can I use "She" or "her" for an animal? For example, Suppose I have a dog that is of the female gender. How do I refer to it? "It" or "She"? Also when I am talking with someone about an animal (for ...
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  • 99
0 votes
1 answer
3k views

Everyone, he/she/it?

Is there a possibility to form the following sentence "gender-independent" in English? Everybody sees, what he/she wants to see. What can I use instead of he/she? Additionally: How can I give this ...
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  • 129
1 vote
1 answer
173 views

The usage of "she" and "her" in neutral cases

I am reading an article now and facing some strange usage of pronouns: An agent’s probabilities are defined by her willingness to place or accept any bets she believes to be favorable to her on the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
729 views

What use when I don't know the gender of a person? [duplicate]

When I don't know if a person is male or female, what word shall I use? I don't know but in spanish we use the male form: he. PD: I know that I could say He/She but I don't want.
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1 vote
1 answer
35 views

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

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 ...
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9 votes
3 answers
692 views

Is "singular they" widely used?

I often use singular they to keep my sentences gender neutral. Many of my friends (none of them are native speakers), however, consider this to be grammatically incorrect, and suggest me not to use it ...
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  • 1,199
2 votes
1 answer
217 views

How do I translate this sentence and keep the translation free of any reference to the person's gender? [duplicate]

In Italian, I can use the following sentence without revealing the gender of the person I am talking of. L'utente preferisce mantenere protetta la propria identità. (The user prefers to keep [...
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  • 20.3k
28 votes
4 answers
11k views

The female equivalent of "don't break my balls"

We all know that someone who can never be quiet, who criticizes, moans and nags until your patience wears thin and snaps. Some men will intimidate the nagger by saying: Stop breaking my balls! I ...
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  • 22.3k
0 votes
1 answer
914 views

Is there a feminine equivalent for the word "houseman"?

There are lots of words ending with the masculine suffix -man. So far, I haven't had any trouble with their feminine equivalents (most of them can be easily found in dictionaries). Now I am having a ...
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  • 9,283
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can we use "him" for an animal in this sentence?

Can we use "him" for an animal for the passive form? Please check my below sentence and kindly let me know if I used "him" at the end of the sentence. "When deer saw the lion running at him, he ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

I'm confused with the use of 'herself''

The customer can serve herself, and then pay for the goods with the minimum of delay. In the sentence, the customer can be a male or female. But the pronoun 'herself' has been used. I'm confused with ...
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  • 1,795
2 votes
1 answer
249 views

Feminine pronouns for countries

Context: Just days after the fall of Paris, General Charles de Gaulle, In one of the most important speeches in French history, told his fellow countrymen: 'Believe me...nothing is lost for France....
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

"sister-site": noun gender

After spending some time on the English SE, I noticed that everytime someone referred to ELL, they always did so by saying "our sister-site ELL". As I understand, there is no grammatical gender in ...
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4 votes
2 answers
192 views

Getting he/she intuitively right if native language has only gender-neutral pronouns

At times I can speak English fluently enough. The biggest issue bothering me is that when not carefully speaking, I mix 'he' and 'she' pronouns randomly. Example: "Jane's not here today. He's on a ...
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  • 151
0 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the possessive pronoun for a person whose gender we don't know? [duplicate]

If I speak about a neutral sex person, what can I say to exprime a possession ? Example: The student will use his or her pen to write. Is it better to write every time his or her or is there a ...
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  • 143
54 votes
11 answers
9k views

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

What should I use in this sentence? If he were a girl, I would have kissed him/her. Should I refer to the real gender of the person or the one I'm assuming the person to be and why? Edit : Recent ...
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  • 1,921
2 votes
2 answers
10k views

Are feminine nouns ending with -ess the only proper option for females?

When we have a specifically feminine version of a noun which ends with the -ess suffix, like in huntress, sorceress, anchoress, etc. Is it always wrong to use, like, hunter for a female hunter too or ...
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30 votes
9 answers
9k views

Does the English language have a grammatical gender?

If we are talking about animate objects, like people and animals, defining a gender is easy in most cases. But for inanimate objects, like a chair, a tree, the sky and so on, gender can be a built-in ...
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35 votes
6 answers
49k views

Grammatical gender of the word "child"

I've been taught that a child is gender-neutral noun. But in the textbook on linguistics I've been reading, the noun is used as feminine. For example, a sentence in the book goes like this: The ...
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  • 747
1 vote
2 answers
293 views

It or Him when talking about Regime

I heard in the media: Russia was behind the Syrian regime since day one: arming him,... I am confused if I should refer to regime as it or him or her. What about other words like machine, ...
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  • 125
4 votes
1 answer
136 views

Why do ESL speakers sometimes use "sir" to women?

When I use a website with a large numbers of users for whom English is not their first language (specifically, fiverr.com), I often get addressed as "Sir", even though I am a woman. How come? My ...
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