Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

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Is there a gender-neutral prefix for “parent”?

The prefixes "patr-" and "matr-" refer, respectively, to father and mother--e.g., a patriarch is a father who rules a family, and a matrilineal society is one where property is passed from mother to ...
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6answers
2k views

Is there a female or gender-neutral equivalent to the colloquial “man”?

I don't know how to define the usage of man I'm talking about*, so I'll do it with examples: Hey, man, what's up? C'mon, man, don't make me do this. Is there a female or gender-neutral ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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 ...
5
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1answer
703 views

Terms for “natural gender” and “grammatical gender”

This post is partly inspired by previous posts, such as this one, on non-existence of grammatical gender in English. My question is mainly about what "natural gender" and "grammatical gender" are to ...
5
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1answer
185 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 ...
5
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1answer
473 views

Is there an explicitly male version of “craftsman/craftsmanship”?

This is somewhat of a fringe question, I’m sure, but the recent question asking for a gender-neutral of craftsmanship thread got me thinking. Since the suffix ‑man has become something of a gender-...
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3answers
897 views

Should I use “him” or “her”?

Which is correct, and why?: If my daughter was born a boy, I would have named her Harry. Or If my daughter was born a boy, I would have named him Harry. I'm sure my reasoning for both is ...
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3answers
3k views

Which is more correct: gender or sex? [duplicate]

I've always used "gender" when I want to talk about whether a person is male or female. But I came across this comment on a similar question here: Correct usage is "sex" for humans and other ...
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3answers
538 views

“à la” + masculine

I'd like to say I'm baking a cake à la Ramsey. Here, à la means in the style of. My problem is: what if Ramsey is male? The French la goes with feminine nouns. So, should I write the following? ...
4
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1answer
650 views

Is villain masculine?

In India we generally use heroine as the female counterpart of a hero in a film. Is it grammatically acceptable? Further, is there any feminine counterpart for a villain either in tinsel world or in ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of “-ix” as a feminine variation?

Some words are made feminine by altering the suffix to be -ix. Examples: dominator → dominatrix executor → executrix rector → rectrix What is the origin of this variation? From my 5 years of ...
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2answers
10k 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 ...
4
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2answers
392 views

Is the English Language becoming more generic, in the sense that English is distinguishing less between masculine and feminine?

To clarify: what I mean is that in Australia for instance there is a trend in English to use words that do not distinguish between men and women. E.g. Chairperson instead of Chairman. So the question ...
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4answers
1k views

Etymology of “manhole”

I don't think man stands for male here, I think it stands for human—it is a humanhole. Does it have this name because its purpose is to provide access to the sewer for men?
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
96 views

Can verbally female-concerned idioms be used for male cases, (and vice versa)?

The idiom like Caesar's wife is mentioned in the book 1100 words you need to know (Murray Bromberg and Melvin Gordon, 4th edition), and used in the following sentence as an example: Mrs. Drake ...
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1answer
643 views

“Motherland” vs. “fatherland”

What are the different connotations of motherland and fatherland? NOAD defines both as "a person's native country," though it adds "esp. when referred to in patriotic terms" for fatherland. The words, ...
4
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1answer
828 views

Do vocal pitch and timbre differ by accent?

Guys from the UK and India seem to have higher-pitched voices than Americans. Similarly, I have heard comments from Japanese-American women that they make an effort to lower their voices when speaking ...
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3answers
6k views

Can a female proprietor be called as “proprietor”?

I know the female version of proprietor can be called as proprietress or proprietrix. But I want to know whether a female proprietor can also be called a proprietor? Or does proprietor only indicate ...
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2answers
6k 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?
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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4answers
72k 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 interesting" ? ...
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3answers
579 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; ...
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2answers
11k views

What do you say when you don't know someone's gender? [duplicate]

For example, I want to refer to someone on the internet, but I don't know this person's gender. Which personal-pronoun do I use? (as article I mean he, she, it, etc)
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2answers
340 views

How to ask a mixed-gender group for their participation?

This question deals with the use of y’all in written vs. spoken English, gender neutrality and group dynamics. I often find myself writing emails to a group of both men and women asking if they ...
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2answers
529 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 ...
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3answers
220 views

In cricket and football is it alright to refer to women as men?

I noticed when I was watching the match between England and Mexico in the Women's Football World Cup the other night, that the commentator would refer to a situation where the attacking side 'had a ...
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1answer
2k views

Default gender for pronouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct? I’m sure this is a duplicate, but I've heard that when the gender is unknown you are to use he instead of he or she....
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1answer
337 views

Can I Switch from “it” to “he” or “she” when referring to an animal in a story? [closed]

This one is a question I can't seem to find an answer for. I do have a friend, a professional editor, who told me she saw no problem with me switching from "it" to "he" or "she" when referring to an ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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3answers
394 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
7k 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 use? ...
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2answers
1k views

Is 'liege' masculine?

'Liege' seems to most often refer to a man. Is that because most lords in history and fiction are men, or because 'liege' is a masculine noun? If the latter, is there a feminine counterpart?
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2answers
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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 "she"...
2
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1answer
742 views

Female equivalent for “wet dreams”? [closed]

As I understand, the term wet dreams applies only to masculine gender? Then, unless it's unisex in nature, is there a specific term applicable to feminine gender?
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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?
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2answers
58 views

What is the correct pronoun for mixed gender antecedents?

Neither John nor Mary thinks (pronoun?) will lose their race. Probably the best solution for this sentence is to recast it as "Both John and Mary think the other will lose their race," or something ...
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1answer
1k views

What is the female equivalent of “warlock”?

What is the female equivalent of a "warlock"? It seems that other male-only words for paranormal practitioners have female equivalents: Wizard/Witch Sorcerer/Sorceress Enchanter/Enchantress Warlock/???...
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3answers
3k views

Sun and moon: male or female?

In other languages, the sun and the moon have definite genders: in French and many other romanic languages le soleil (the sun) is male and la lune (the moon) is female. In German and other germanic ...
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2answers
84 views

The feminine of “He was a leading man of letters”

"William Shakespeare was a leading man of letters". What if we are talking about Florence Margaret Smith. Miss Smith was a leading...... Would you, native speakers, say "woman" ?
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2answers
109 views

Terms to Refer to “Malekind” or “Femalekind”

I'm looking for some terms or phrases that could be used to refer to all the males or all the females collectively and exclusively. Something like a gender-specific version of "mankind" (which usually ...
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1answer
42 views

Referring to unknown gender as “she” [duplicate]

In what cases is it appropriate to refer to unknown gender as she?
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1answer
410 views

Adjectives that Imply Nouns [closed]

Often we may see adjectives with nouns that are implied, but not explicitly written. I see this mostly with sports team names and demonyms. For example: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Is "Irish" a ...
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3answers
634 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".
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3answers
674 views

Is English “genderless” or are inanimate nouns just neuter by default?

Some questions on ELU already touch on this subject, and they pose that English does not have grammatical gender which means that most of its inanimate nouns are referred to with it rather than he or ...
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3answers
276 views

Word for a man who is not gay but wanted to be female? [closed]

I searched this site and can't find a word that expresses my sense that I have always thought I would have been better suited as female, and I am attracted to the opposite sex (so would switch if I ...
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4answers
996 views

Politically correct substitutes for (fe)male and (wo)man

In the English language, the pairs man/woman and male/female both look as if one gender or sex was considered a special case for it is denoted by putting an arbitrary prefix (wo-, fe-) before the ...
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3answers
729 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 ...