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Does anyone have a suggestion for a gender-neutral alternative to the phrase "Who's the go-to man?" The go-to person feels stylistically awkward.

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What is a 'go to man'? – Barrie England Apr 30 '12 at 15:37
I'm assuming "go-to man" or "go-to guy". The person you go to when you have a requirement for a specific thing. – Brad Apr 30 '12 at 15:40
Yes, that's what I mean. – Helen Melichar Apr 30 '12 at 15:41
I never heard of "the go to man" before, but Google Books suggests it's often hyphenated and/or quotated, so it should probably be treated as "idiomatic slang". Perhaps "go-to guy" would do, given "guy" is often gender-neutral these days. In context, a male or female could reasonably say "I'm your huckleberry", but I've never heard any other related constructions using the word huckleberry. – FumbleFingers Apr 30 '12 at 15:45

11 Answers 11

up vote 2 down vote accepted

How about, "who is the point person"?

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Yes, that works. Thanks. – Helen Melichar Apr 30 '12 at 15:42
If it works, why don't you accept then answer then? ;) Thanks. – Brad Apr 30 '12 at 15:46
Sometimes the person who is the "point person" is actually not your "go-to guy." Your go-to guy is the one who will know the answer and get whatever you're needing done done quickly and well. Sometimes the point person is not that guy. – JLG Apr 30 '12 at 16:04
@Brad, as good as your answer may have been, it's often best for the O.P. to wait a few hours – at least – before accepting an answer, just to see what other people might contribute or suggest. – J.R. Apr 30 '12 at 16:51
The term point person, IMO, comes originally from the military term for the man in front -- the point man. However, in modern (BrE) business usage, it exactly conveys the sentiment that I inferred from the OP's question, namely that of being the person to whom queries of a particular ilk should be directed. – Brad Apr 30 '12 at 17:55

What's wrong with "go-to person"?

I've heard "go-to guy" and "go-to girl". But that assumes you know which it is.

You could say "expert" or "authority" if that fits the context. Or "point of contact" might work.

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Unfortunately, it is common business vernacular to refer to them as the guru of a particular subject.

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+1 for "unfortunately". – David M Apr 30 '12 at 15:41

Man is gender-neutral here, go ahead and use it for whoever it is.

'One small step ...' (Ok, that was capitalized); 'Man doesn't live by bread alone.' ...

If you change the wording, no one will understand the idiom.

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"Go to man" can mean a few things. If you are looking for a 'better" way to say it that is not ambiguous, here are some examples that define it:

  • The most knowledgeable person about something
  • The person who gets (these/those) things done
  • The single point of contact who has authority to do something
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I've heard people just omit the "guy" or "gal" part and use "go-to" as a noun rather than an adjective, like this:

"Jane is our go-to for this sort of thing."

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Often in business, the perhaps aesthetically lacking term "subject matter expert" is used to refer to someone particularly proficient in an area. For a more general term, one might use "fixer" (one who solves/fixes problems).

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I think the most appropriate word to use to describe a "go-to" person would be an authority. Not to mention, it's gender neutral.

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I have this same dilemma, and must disagree with some comments here. "Go-To Guy" doesn't work for a woman. "Go-To Gal" was too old fashioned decades ago. "Go-To Girl" is age inappropriate for most professional women.

How about "expert?"

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Depending on the context, how about "mainstay"?

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I am surprised that this hasn't been given but I hear captain used in almost every environment.

In sports the referees talk to the captain to discuss rulings. Teammates talk to the captains about concerns or issues.

Captain signifies there is a team but it could be debate team or a team in the workplace. I am begrudgingly a captain of our internal innovation team. Which means when someone has an idea they come to me first.

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