Tag Archives: gender-neutral

Ignore Noun/Pronoun Agreement For Gender Neutrality? Count Me Out!

www.RuthlessEditor.comThe Associated Press Stylebook, my first choice among style guides and grammar reference manuals, rocked the writing world when it announced it was giving the green light to using the plural pronoun “they” with a singular noun.

AP explains:

They, them, their … In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person …

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Dogs, Cats And Cows: ‘Who’ Or ‘Which’?

Picture of farm anilams - should be used for animals?If you’re one of the millions of pet owners in the United States, I have a question for you: Do you call your dog or cat (or turtle, bird or gerbil) a he, a she or an it?

This might not appear to be an earth-shaking grammatical issue, but the New York Times considered it important enough — or maybe simply interesting enough — to publish an article about animals and how we refer to their gender: Continue

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Gender Bias Marks State Of Union Response

Nikki Haley - response to POTUSI found the analyses of President Obama’s State of the Union address and of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s response in behalf of the Republican party as interesting as the speeches themselves.

As a ruthless editor greatly in tune to gender-neutral (or gender-inclusive, as some prefer) language, this line from Gov. Halley’s response stopped me short: Continue

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Founding ‘Fathers’ Had Company

Words have power - gender nuetrality in language is still an issueWhen I heard Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the president of Afghanistan, refer to America’s “founding fathers and mothers” at a March 24 press conference, he really caught my attention. What gender-inclusive talk from the head of state of a country that is not known for exemplary treatment of women!

Yet it was refreshing how easily the reference seemed to roll off his tongue. It caused me to pause and think how often I have heard government representatives from the United States refer to “our founding fathers.” It also reminded me of a blog I wrote a few months ago about John Wayne’s maiden name.

Because gender-inclusive / gender-neutral language is of interest to me as a ruthless editor, I recently ordered The Elements of Nonsexist Usage, one of several books by writer, editor and PR specialist Val Dumond. Continue

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End-of-Year Potpourri

Potpourri ingredients - a bit of this and that smell nice, but bad grammar stinksPotpourri (pronounced poe-pur-REE) is a mixture, most commonly of dried flower petals and spices, valued for its fragrance. However, it also can be a musical medley, a collection of miscellaneous literary extracts — or any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.

This post is a mixture of words, although perhaps not quite “literary extracts.” It is a collection of things I have heard or read since my last post, and it exemplifies why I consider myself a ruthless editor, why I blog, and why I write a monthly column about grammar. Continue

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What Was John Wayne’s Maiden Name?

John Wayne was a rugged guy and no one called him by his maiden nameLegendary for his rugged masculinity, actor John Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison. Can you imagine a reporter interviewing him and asking him what his maiden name was?

The impetus for this post was a recent email from a colleague who was facilitating my connection to an acquaintance of hers. I was seeking information on a subject of interest to me, and my colleague explained Continue

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Despite One Exception, Book Review Exemplifies Excellence in Writing

book-editingA colleague suggested I check out a book review that appeared in the Aug. 10, 2014, Wall Street Journal: It’s Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliché. I consider it a must-have for my resource library.

However, because it hit my inbox on a Monday morning when I was in work mode, I also was seeing it through the eyes of a ruthless editor. My comments (and my italics): Continue

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