Ships and boats are referred to using feminine pronouns. Are houses masculine, feminine or neutral? Please provide evidence for your answer, a Google search didn't help me.

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    Neutral, ie referred to as "it". Boats are neutral too - it may be common to call a boat "she" but this is just a romantic tradition, not a feature of the language. – Max Williams Apr 11 '16 at 13:23
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    It's always safe to assume inanimate, mindless objects don't have gender in English. Calling ships "she" is a freak exception that isn't even required, just an optional bit of personification. – herisson Apr 11 '16 at 13:23
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    The use of gendered terms for inanimate objects has all but vanished. That said, when they were used, they were almost universally feminine. I'm not aware of any masculine parallels to the construction, e.g., "The sea was a harsh mistress that day, she was....". – Dan Bron Apr 11 '16 at 13:23
  • @DanBron: Death is usually personified as male. I think Time is also, to a lesser degree. Of course, these are abstract concepts, rather than concrete inanimate objects. – herisson Apr 11 '16 at 13:26
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This is what the Chicago Manual of Style has to say:

5.14 Noun gender

English nouns have no true gender as that property is understood in many other languages. For example, whether a noun refers to a masculine or feminine person or thing does not determine the form of the article as it does in French, German, Spanish, and other languages. Still, some English words--almost exclusively denoting a person or an animal--are inherently masculine {uncle}{rooster}{lad} or feminine {aunt}{hen}{lass} and take the gender-appropriate pronouns. But by far, most English nouns are common in gender and may refer to either sex {relative}{chicken}{child}. Many words that once were considered strictly masculine--especially words associated with jobs or professions--have been accepted as common in gender over time {author}{executor}{proprietor}. Similarly, many forms made feminine by the addition of a suffix {aviatrix} have been abandoned

House is gender neutral.

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    Chicago has a most righteous discussion of avoiding gender bias in writing: 5.221-5.230. If you have access online, hardcover, or go to the library, I found this to be imperative for good gender-neutral prose. – Stu W Apr 11 '16 at 15:11

Houses have no special gender, they are neuter. Ships had often female names, that's why they are feminine. Houses fall under the general rule: Things are neuter.

I looked around on the Internet about Gender in English. Wikipedia is indigestible, other websites bring only half of the topic. I found no site that mentions ships, cars, country names like France, sun, moon, etc.

You have to look into a real grammar, chapter nouns, gender.

Added: from en.wikipedia - grammatical gender - 14.1.1 English: They mention that countries, ships, and other vehicles are feminine. No mention of sun (he, analogue to Latin sol,solis m), and moon (she, analogue to Latin luna f) in poetry.


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  • This is true, but it's better offered as a comment, not as an answer. Unless you want to dig up the evidence OP asked for, which isn't a small task. – Dan Bron Apr 11 '16 at 13:24
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    I wasn't finished with my post. – rogermue Apr 11 '16 at 13:30
  • K, take your time then. – Dan Bron Apr 11 '16 at 13:31
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    Well, that shouldn't happen. In fact, SE should save a (private) draft for you automatically, every Z seconds, which will be available for further editing and ultimately publishing from anywhere you log in. If you can reproduce this bug, it's very much worth your time to report it on Meta Stack Exchange. – Dan Bron Apr 11 '16 at 13:37
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    @rogermue Please provide evidence for your answer. "I looked around on the Internet" doesn't help me, because that's exactly what I did, and I didn't find the information I was looking for. – foxinsocks Apr 11 '16 at 14:41

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