Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! For more great writing advice, follow her on Twitter JessicaStrawser. What do writers really glean from these write-a-thons? We asked the WD writing community, and responses came in waves—with refreshing honesty, admitted mistakes, tales of redemption, palpable pride, self-deprecating humor and, above all, contagious enthusiasm.
In others, such as many of the Niger—Congo languagesthere is a system of grammatical gender or noun classesbut the divisions are not based on sex. This feature commonly co-exists with a full system of grammatical gender, where all nouns are assigned to classes such as masculine, feminine and neuter.
However in some languages, such as Englishthis general system of noun gender has been lost, but gender distinctions are preserved in the third-person pronouns the singular pronouns only, in the case of English.
In languages with grammatical gender, even pronouns which are semantically gender-neutral may be required to take a gender for such purposes as grammatical agreement. Thus in Frenchfor example, the first- and second-person personal pronouns may behave as either masculine or feminine depending on the write a thon book of the referent ; and indefinite pronouns such as quelqu'un "someone" and personne "no one" are treated conventionally as masculine.
Issues concerning gender and pronoun usage commonly arise in situations where it's necessary to choose between gender-specific pronouns, even though the sex of the person or persons being referred to is not known, not specified, or for plurals mixed.
In English and many other languages, the masculine form has sometimes served as the default or unmarked form; that is, masculine pronouns have been used in cases where the referent or referents are not known to be all female.
This leads to sentences such as: If anybody comes, tell him. Here the masculine pronoun him refers to a person of unknown sex. As early asdissatisfaction with this convention led to calls for gender-neutral pronouns, and attempts to invent pronouns for this purpose date back to at leastalthough the use of singular they as a natural gender-neutral pronoun in English is much older.
Gender in English The English language has gender-specific personal pronouns in the third- person singular.
The masculine pronoun is he with derived forms him, his and himself ; the feminine is she with derived forms her, hers and herself ; the neuter is it with derived forms its and itself.
The third-person plural they and its inflected and derived forms them, their, themselves, etc. He and she are normally used for humans; use of it can be dehumanizing, and thus inappropriate, but it is sometimes used for a baby when there is no antecedent like son or daughter and its sex is irrelevant or distracting.
It is normally used for animals, but he or she can be used for an animal when the speaker wants to indicate its sex and there is a higher degree of empathy with the animal, as is more likely with pets, domesticated animals, and other "higher" animals, such as elephants. He or she is used for an animal that is referred to by a proper name e.
She is also used as an alternative to it for countries, when viewed as political entities. The other English pronouns the first- and second-person personal pronouns I, we, you, etc. The only distinction made is between personal and non-personal reference someone vs.
Historical and dialectal gender-neutral pronouns[ edit ] Historically, there were two gender-neutral pronouns native to English dialects, ou and h a. Marshall records the existence of a dialectal English epicene pronoun, singular "ou": Baron goes on to describe how relics of these sex-neutral terms survive in some British dialects of Modern English for example hoo for "she", in Yorkshireand sometimes a pronoun of one gender might be applied to a person or animal of the opposite gender.
In some West Country dialectsthe pronoun er can be used in place of either he or she, although only in weak unstressed positions such as in tag questions.
It pronoun Whereas "he" and "she" are used for entities treated as people including supernatural beings and, sometimes, sympathetic animals, especially petsthe pronoun "it" is normally used for entities not regarded as persons, though the use of "he" or "she" is optional for animals of known sex  and obligatory for animals referred to by a proper name .
The robin builds its nest in a well-chosen position A child learns to speak the language of its environment. To society, a baby's sex is second in importance to its health.
In the following story, the characters refer to the boy-child at the center of the narrative as a "he", but then the narrator refers to it as an "it": It was then that It stared around it However, when not referring specifically to children, "it" is not generally applied to people, even in cases where their gender is unknown.
Another gender-neutral pronoun that can be used to refer to people is the impersonal pronoun " one ". This can sometimes be used to avoid gender-specification issues; however, it cannot normally substitute for a personal pronoun directly, and a sentence containing "he" or "she" would need to be rephrased, probably with a change of meaning, to enable "one" to be used instead.
Each student should save his questions until the end. One should save one's questions until the end. In everyday language, generic you is often used instead of one: You should save your questions until the end.
It may be that forms of the pronoun he had been used for both sexes during the Middle English and Modern English periods.
In a supermarket, a customer can buy anything he needs. When a customer argues, always agree with him. This may be compared to usage of the word man for humans in general although that was the original sense of the word "man" in the Germanic languagesmuch as the Latin word for "human in general", homo, came to mean "male human"—which was vir, in Latin—in most of the Romance languages.
The Massachusetts Medical Society effectively blocked membership of female physicians on the grounds that the society's by-laws used the pronoun he when referring to members.Use Brian Tracy's proven step Author Quick Start Guide to write and publish your % Money-Back Guarantee · 5-Star Customer Reviews · Millions of Supporters,+ followers on Twitter.
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