Questions tagged [gender]

For questions relating to genders.

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53
votes
11answers
8k 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 ...
33
votes
5answers
27k 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 ...
28
votes
9answers
8k 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 ...
27
votes
9answers
5k 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 - ...
25
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
18k views

A “user” is “it” or “he/she”?

I'm not sure what is right and what not. I've searched on Google and could not find an answer to this. How should I write this: I'm speaking about a user. It is the main problem. The question is. ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

'Manhunt for three gunmen' vs 'womanhunt for three gunwomen'

Some time ago, Paris police launched a manhunt for three gunmen. But, what if there are three women who carry guns, shoot and escape, is it still appropriate to say "manhunt for three gunmen"? Will ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Determining someone's gender from their name

A Japanese person was asking how to tell the gender of someone based on their name. Someone else claimed that if it ends in "a", it's usually female, and if it ends in "o", it's usually male. How ...
9
votes
2answers
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I refer to an ant as “she”?

In a long text about a foraging ant, would it be correct to refer to the ant always as "she" instead of "it"? For example, She wanders aimlessly until she finds a pheromone trail. A foraging ant ...
8
votes
4answers
786 views

Can 'what' designate a person?

What looked like the oldest boy marched toward platforms nine and ten. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) In this case, ‘what’ seems to be the subject, and no doubt a person. So I’m wondering if ...
8
votes
3answers
350 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a way to refer to a person (using a pronoun) without mentioning a sex? [duplicate]

I just found myself in situation that I am telling about someone who added to me in Skype: because of the nickname I think that it is a girl and used all the time the word «she». But as she didn't say ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Is Hilary my sister or brother?

I came across this question while taking an English grammar test on the BBC news magazine. The multiple choice question is based on the following sentence: "I'd like to introduce you to my sister ...
5
votes
5answers
679 views

Do you perceive nouns ending with -a as somewhat feminine? [closed]

In Russian, most nouns ending with -a are considered feminine and decline accordingly (with -a considered an ending). But English has no declensions and no -a ending. So I wonder whether you perceive ...
5
votes
2answers
147 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
209 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
844 views

Does standard English support gendered forms of nouns and verbs?

I've heard it said that there is no rule for gender of nouns/verbs, and they are neutral. But others say that it is possible, such as vixen for fox. How do I know which word to use in such cases?
4
votes
2answers
481 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
314 views

Why did the author use “her” for captains?

Egwene hung on to a smooth face with an effort. There was no real hope of ships to block the harbor, though none of them knew that. Gareth had made it plain enough to her, however, long before ...
3
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
197 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 [...
2
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
53 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 (...
2
votes
1answer
429 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Indefinite pronoun

If a piece of information goes over someone's head, [they] do not understand it. My teacher explained to me that it is informal usage for an indefinite pronoun, the formal usage should be "his or her"...
2
votes
2answers
333 views

Parliament - a she?

I've just come across a very strange phrase: Parliament internationally surrendered HER sovereignty to the primacy of European Community law. My question has nothing to do with politics! I just ...
2
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
367 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
194 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
317 views

What does this “their” mean?

"But who'd be that desperate?" he wondered aloud. "If you're going to be cursed forever, death's better, isn't it?" "It is," Firenze agreed, "unless all you need is to stay alive long enough ...
1
vote
1answer
58 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
34 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
122 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
29 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
634 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.
0
votes
3answers
173 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
74 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)?
0
votes
1answer
229 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?
0
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
310 views

Which possessive pronoun for an antecedent 'man' in the generic sense (=“humankind”) — 'its' or his'?

In a translation I have said "I feel the vigour of man", and a bit later I have to refer to the creator of "man", but I am unsure whether I should say his creator or its creator I take the ...
0
votes
1answer
466 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
803 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 ...