How is 's/he' pronounced? Do we say 'She or he should ..." or "He or she should ..."?

Ex.: When a person applies for a job, s/he should always bring a resume.

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    However you like. – Robusto Mar 29 '15 at 22:30
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    Again, show your research, since a dictionary is easy to look up. ODO on s/he: "A written representation of ‘he or she’ used as a neutral alternative to indicate someone of either sex" (my emphasis). How does that not answer the question? – Andrew Leach Mar 29 '15 at 22:34
  • I don't get it. Does it mean transgender 'he/she'? Doesn't make much sense, and that. – whippoorwill Mar 29 '15 at 22:39
  • Wow! One year suspended. And to think I was going to warn whippoorwill that he was risking it. – Mari-Lou A Mar 30 '15 at 4:06
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    The original question remains unanswered. Let us say that we are reading aloud a text which contains "s/he". What exactly is it that we are expected to vocalize? Are we to say aloud "he or she"? That is no pronunciation of "s/he", but if it is the case that we are expected to say "he or she", a proper answer rather than a dismissal would have to explain that "s/he" is not pronounced, but is vocalized as "he or she". In real life, s/he is always (IME) vocalized as "she or he", or simply as "she", sounding the same as the "new" gender-neutral pronoun. – bobro Mar 30 '15 at 6:06

I recall at university there was an (achingly politically correct) S/he Society, whose members prounounced it Shehe. But outside such specific contexts, you will always have to decide which pronoun you wish to use for a singular person of unspecified sex: he, he or she, singular they? S/he is a written version of the second, and as such is to most people vaguely unsatisfactory but not obnoxious.


I’m pretty sure that sh/e is pronounced /ðeɪ/ in English.

However, the more-inclusive version, sh/e/it, has a rather more vulgar pronunciation. But that’s what political correctness gets you: vulgarity.

  • How is that vulgar? It would be the same pronunciation as 'Shiite'. This one is throwing me for a loop (very difficult). – whippoorwill Mar 29 '15 at 22:52
  • @whipoorwill No, the PC version sounds like /ʃɪt/. – tchrist Mar 29 '15 at 22:56
  • Can we answer questions without editorializing and being crude? – Yamikuronue Mar 30 '15 at 0:22
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    @Yamikuronue We already have “a gender-neutral compound” in English, and have for 700 years. It’s called they. As for the user, please see their posting history for more understanding. If you have a matter to bring up on meta, you are encouraged to do so. – tchrist Mar 30 '15 at 0:37
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    @Yamikuronue After the first 80 or 90 closed questions from that user, one gets tired of seeing them posting more of the same. In the face of that, a little humor is the best I have to offer. I’m sorry you did not appreciate the humor; others did. – tchrist Mar 30 '15 at 0:44

Generally, as "he/she" (slash is not vocalized) or "he or she". For whatever reason, it sounds strange to my (American) ears to say "she or he", despite the order that it was written in.

Oxford dictionaries agrees: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/s/he lists the definition as "A written representation of ‘he or she’ ", though the "pronounce this" button goes with "he she".

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