I'm building an app that people can share the results of their calculations. I'm a bit stuck on wording, see below:

Andy would like to share their results from a pairing

Catherine would like to share their results from a pairing

Because I'm not capturing the person's gender, I would like to avoid his/her. But every time I read my examples above something doesn't seem right to me?

  • 1
    And you also reject "Andy would like to share its results from a pairing." ??? – GEdgar Oct 23 '16 at 19:49
  • 1
    the results from a pairing – Drew Oct 23 '16 at 21:05
  • Good suggestions, I think I will use something like Andy would like to share the results from... – Andy Holmes Oct 23 '16 at 21:06

In both cases, use of their is likely to convey the impression that they are representing a larger group (thus, Andy is giving the results obtained from the work of several people). If the results are the work of Andy alone, and assuming that Andy is male, then his will not be persecuted by the gender-police, and will avoid the ambiguity around who obtained the results. Similarly, if Catherine alone obtained the results and is female, then her is appropriate.

And sharing their results sounds unnecessarily PC-ish. A word such as explaining, exposing, discussing, detailing, describing, ... would remedy this.

Edit In response to the comment by the OP and Andy Schweig, how about yy's results [...] will be described by their author (author may not be the best term).

  • Thank you, however as the content is dynamically created and I have no way of knowing someone's gender (and can't assume off the name) I need a neutral way of structuring this sentence – Andy Holmes Oct 23 '16 at 19:22
  • I suppose I could just go with {Name} would like to share the results of... ? – Andy Holmes Oct 23 '16 at 19:25
  • I have seen "their" (as well as "they" and "them") used in this way online, but I agree that it sounds clumsy. We may be coming to the point where apps, web sites, etc. may have to ask for your preferred pronoun when asking for your name. If you can reword the sentence to avoid the problem, that's probably your best bet. – Andy Schweig Oct 23 '16 at 19:31
  • Thanks for the info guys, I think I've got a direction to go down now :) – Andy Holmes Oct 23 '16 at 21:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.