Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

share|improve this question
    
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
    

10 Answers 10

up vote 0 down vote accepted

How about, "who is the point person"?

share|improve this answer
    
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
1  
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
3  
@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
    
@helen melichar: My understanding is that the point person (actually a point man) is the one who "leads a charge" in the military. Is this the sense you want? –  Tom Au Apr 30 '12 at 16:57

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.

share|improve this answer

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

share|improve this answer
2  
+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.

share|improve this answer

"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
share|improve this answer

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?"

share|improve this answer

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).

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

Depending on the context, how about "mainstay"?

share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

protected by tchrist 2 days ago

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.