Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
1answer
1k 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)?
18
votes
5answers
44k 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
271 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 ...
146
votes
19answers
43k 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
4k 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
8k 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...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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
3k 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
698 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
24k 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
365 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
2k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
22k views

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

For males, it's gentleman; and for females?
14
votes
2answers
388 views

Is it acceptable to write “(wo)man”?

I just read this: It’s a (wo)man’s world out there. Is this an accepted approach to gender-neutral language, or is it just used when humor is intended?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to avoid sexist language?

I have observed that I use a lot of sexist terms; it comes naturally to me! I have resolved to be "perfectly" non-sexist from now onwards. I would like to know how to avoid sexist language. Yes, ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Did the English language ever have noun genders?

And if so, how did they differentiate between male, female or neuter nouns? Did English ever have gender-specific (in)definite articles? (like der/die/das in German)
14
votes
2answers
11k views

Where does “Santa” in Santa Claus come from?

Santa Claus is a man, right? In this case, he may not be fine with the fact that people call him Santa, which is the Spanish and Portuguese word for female saint names. For example, Santa Barbara and ...
-2
votes
5answers
584 views

Should the common usage “Webmasters” be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals?

Should the common usage "Webmasters" be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals? Specifically why do we really need a term like web mistresses? ...
11
votes
4answers
32k views

Should I use “his/her” or “its”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Gender neutral pronoun Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? I am writing software documentation. I have this issue: I am ...
4
votes
2answers
375 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
15k views

Female Actor or Actress

I've recently noticed the word actor used for female actresses in the Indian print media. I have a few questions : a) Is this the correct usage of the word? b) Is this an international phenomenon? ...
24
votes
2answers
5k views

Why don't English nouns have grammatical gender?

English nouns — other than those with natural gender, e.g. people or animals — do not generally have grammatical gender, and so are referred to as 'it' rather than 'he' or 'she'. However, modern ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?

English nouns which don't denote people or animals with natural gender do not (apart from a few rare examples) use grammatical gender. So for example, "table" is always an "it" in English, whereas it ...
48
votes
7answers
106k views

Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
12
votes
5answers
560 views

When referring to a noun, when does the gender matter?

In most languages, gender plays a much more important role than in English. Nevertheless, it is possible to refer to a noun using its gender. The ship was launched on 4 October 1853. Tayleur left ...