Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

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5
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1answer
1k views

What is the word for nouns with gender-specific forms?

Thought I would try a question with visual aid.* The image below shows Claire Danes, "Actor", in a kiosk poster for the Met. The variation in usage between actor and actress for female thespians is ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Personal pronouns for animals

In my native language German, every animal has an article. This is understandable, if one wants for example to distinguish a male pig (boar) from a female pig (sow). But if one just talks about the ...
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Identifying the implied gender of nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to objects as “she” English officially does not have genders like German or other languages; for example, a chair is an it, not a he or she. ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

She/he to refer a user [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun? Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular ...
0
votes
6answers
8k views

Origin of 'fairer sex'

I've seen the term 'the fairer sex' being used in a number of areas to refer to females. How did they get that title? What does 'fairer' refer to in this case?
-2
votes
1answer
411 views

What does “incognita” mean? [closed]

American Heritage Dictionary reads: incognita adv & adj, with one’s identity disguised or concealed. Used of a woman; n, A woman or girl whose identity is disguised or concealed. ...
4
votes
5answers
848 views

Using “she” with gender-neutral nouns

The song “Frozen” from Madonna’s Ray of Light (1998) contains the lyrics: Love is a bird, she needs to fly, Let all the hurt inside of you die. Does she refer to bird or love? And why is it ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Gender-neutral Forms

What is the unisex form of a word like fisherman? Do you have to use fisherman and fisherwoman separately, or is fisherperson acceptable? I couldn’t find a dictionary with the word … In general, what ...
29
votes
6answers
4k views

A word that says a person is both female and your friend

It's often confusing for me to talk about my friends, especially my female friends. This is because in Dutch there are words for both male ("vriend") and female ("vriendin") friends. In English ...
1
vote
0answers
234 views

Unisex slang for “man” [closed]

In slang, one can use the generic "man", to describe his conversant. For instance: Man, it's sure hot here this season How can I express that for a woman I'm talking with?
2
votes
4answers
32k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference in male vs female use of the English language

Is there a somewhat reliable (like, for example 70% success rate) way to determine whether a paragraph in the English language was written by a man or a woman (adult male/female)? Any credible ...
13
votes
2answers
786 views

Is “so” more feminine than “very”?

Many Japanese textbooks of English mention the "feminine 'so'": the use of "so" for "very" is more typical of a feminine speaker. I don't think this is true in the US (I learned English living in ...
0
votes
2answers
224 views

Why are “player”, “researcher” and “designer” referred to by a feminine gender specific pronoun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Reason for the current trend to use "she" as the gender-neutral pronoun? In a lot of academic literature that I'm reading ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Why do newspapers use the terms “women voters” and “women candidates”?

I've noticed that when discussing political demographics or candidates, many reporters use the phrases "women voters" and "women candidates". This feels horribly awkward grammatically. It's hard to ...
2
votes
3answers
331 views

Perception of subjects with indeterminate gender [closed]

Being German, I am used to getting information about the gender of a sentence's subject in the same sentence: Meine Freundin mag Bücher. Here it is immediately clear that it's a female friend of ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Generic way for writing about person without knowing his/her gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there generic way to write something ...
2
votes
3answers
942 views

Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? [closed]

I know this sounds weird but I've been noticing a lot of texts on the Internet like this one: "Any citizen is concerned with her well-being ...". The word in question is "her". To me it seems like in ...
6
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the male equivalent of “damsel”?

Is there a male equivalent of "damsel" ? damsel (dam·sel) Pronunciation: /ˈdamzəl/ noun archaic or literary    a young unmarried woman. (from OxfordDictionaries.com)
13
votes
5answers
134k views

What is the male equivalent of “mistress” in formal English?

The mistress definition, Oxford dictionary a woman having an extramarital sexual relationship, esp. with a married man I am looking for the male equivalent of 'mistress' as defined above. Some ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the gender of an aircraft?

I know that a ship is always referred using "she", but what about aircraft? What should we use when we're referring to aircraft? Is it the same for automobile?
2
votes
3answers
443 views

Female equivalent of “creator”?

Female equivalent of "creator"? Or is it unisex? I'm a programmer and I named a variable "creatingFunction", which sounds even worse than "creatorFunction".
13
votes
3answers
752 views

Why use the term “Sister sites” instead of “Brother sites”?

This came up recently on programmers.SE, when someone (a Russian, presumably non-native English speaker) asked why we used the term "sister sites", instead of "brother sites". Of course, I'm a native ...
3
votes
3answers
440 views

Noun genders in Moby Dick

English nouns do not have grammatical gender. But in Moby Dick, some nouns do seem to have gender, like "ship" (feminine) and "whale" (masculine). Some passages: And now the time of tide has come; ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

User: She, He, She or He, or They? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender neutral, singular pronoun (his vs. her vs. their)? I would like to know if when I'm writing about a "user" (in the broad sense), what do I ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between female and male usage [closed]

What explains the difference of a de facto larger frequency of vowels of one writer compared to another? In the statistics data I examined, a vowel had higher probability in the text from the female ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Equivalent of “Man up” for a female [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender-neutral equivalent for “Take it like a man” Does this make sense? For instance: "John, just man up and get on with it". You can't say this to a ...
6
votes
4answers
24k views

Is there a feminine equivalent of “emasculate”?

e·mas·cu·late Deprive (a man) of his male role or identity Is there a female equivalent? I came up with efemulate but this sounds strange.
4
votes
2answers
5k views

A man's breast vs. a woman's breasts

Why is it that breast is used when referring to a man's chest, but breasts is used for a woman's? Could breast also mean a woman's chest, or do breasts have to be used when referring to a woman's ...
0
votes
2answers
122 views

Gender question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Speaking about someone of unknown gender… Gender neutral pronoun I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The ...
2
votes
2answers
982 views

Speaking about someone of unknown gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun For example, user clicked the button. I don't know if the user is male or female, what gender should I use? Now I read a book, where the user is ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Is the word “women's” a typo?

My browser's spellcheck says it is, but I can't figure out why. Is Firefox sexist?
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Why we say the earth is beautiful not handsome?

Why we say the world is beautiful? Can't we say the world is handsome?
3
votes
2answers
493 views

Is the formation “[s]he” overly distracting?

Does the use of "[s]he" as a gender-neutral pronoun prompt eye-rolling in the reader or is it generally accepted? I know it cannot be pronounced, but it seems to me a helpful contraction in written ...
1
vote
0answers
173 views

How to take the gender of an anonymous person into consideration? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun Very often, I find myself writing about a user, an anonymous person whose gender I don't know. Right after mentioning this abstract user, I need ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Should I use “authoress” for a feminine author?

Often I come across the term "female author" rather than "authoress". Which is the correct usage? "Female author" sounds wrong to me as other words that end in "-or" take a sex.
7
votes
1answer
838 views

Where does gender attach in “brotherly/sisterly”?

If Leia loves her brother Luke, does she feel sisterly love (because she is his sister) or brotherly love (because he is her brother)?
16
votes
5answers
28k views

Why is a woman a “widow” and a man a “widower”?

There are lots of words that have male and female forms, and usually there are alternate suffixes to the words which indicate the gender; for example, "waiter" vs. "waitress", "mister" vs. "mistress", ...
6
votes
4answers
247 views

“His head” or “their head”?

I was disappointed to see a favorite storybook from my childhood has been edited. (Harry, the Dirty Dog; ISBN-13: 978-0064430098) I distinctly remember the text written as follows: ...but ...
130
votes
18answers
28k views

What is a feminine version of 'guys'?

I commonly use the word 'guys' to refer to a group of males colloquially. It's colloquial but not rude, off putting, condescending, patronizing (though I wouldn't use it with a group of men at a board ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

On the specifics of illegitimate children

Is there a feminine form of the word bastard? It seems like bastard is a word that’s applied to male children only.
9
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the difference between “blond” and “blonde”?

I hear all the time that one word is for males and the other is for females but I'm skeptical...
3
votes
3answers
824 views

Avoiding the use of “the reader”?

I'm writing a response essay to Medieval Women's Visionary writings that possess power. In this essay I'm supposed to explain how two writers, that I've picked to write about, possess or don't possess ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Advice for using multiple same-gender personal pronouns in the same sentence

I have often struggled with sentences that contain two characters of the same gender. For example, if there are two females, Alice and Carol, then the following sentence can be confusing. Alice ...
2
votes
3answers
584 views

Gender, generally associated with “toad” characters in English fiction and folklore

Common noun for a toad ("жаба") is of female gender in Russian. From all English literature that I read, I can remember only one toad-like character: Mr. Toad from The Wind in The Willows, and he is ...
23
votes
5answers
17k views

Is it a good practice to refer to countries, ships etc using the feminine form?

While talking about ships and countries, is it a good practice to use the feminine form? For example: "Her economy" - while referring to a country's economy "Her flag (or deck etc)" - while ...
6
votes
2answers
339 views

Why are “he”, “she”, and “it” distinct in the singular, but all “they” in the plural?

Other languages have gender-specific third-person plural pronouns (e.g., ellos and ellas in Spanish). English does not, despite the masculine/feminine/neuter distinction being obligatory in the ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

“She left me for another woman” or “She left me for a woman”?

Assuming a male speaker is referring to an ex-partner, which of the following is more correct? She left me for another woman She left me for a woman The phrase She left me for another ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals?

Why are there different ways of indicating gender for animals? For instance, by inflexion we get: lion (male) & lioness (female) where the female is distinguished from the male. Here the male is ...
17
votes
2answers
14k views

“Gentleman” is to “male” as what is to “female”?

For males, it's gentleman; and for females?