Can you recognize that her lover is a woman from this part of the sentence?

A doctor’s daughter hides her lover--

I am afraid you cannot, or you automatically think it is a man.

In my language, we use a single word for male or female lover, which is what got me into this situation.

Would the next sentence be more understandable?

A doctor’s gay daughter hides her lover--

Would it be better if I use:

A doctor’s daughter hides her gay lover–

Any other suggestions how to write this without that it is too much on the nose? Is there another, single word for a female lover instead of writing her female lover or gay daughter?

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    ...hides her lesbian lover would eliminate the ambiguity even further. I think that would read better, too. – J.R. Mar 6 '17 at 8:43
  • @J.R. I know it is a matter of personal preference, but I think 'her lesbian lover' sounds awful. Syk, is there any reason you need to do this in just one word ie you cant change it to something like 'X hides Y, her lover.' – Spagirl Mar 6 '17 at 10:26
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    "A doctor’s daughter hides her 'female' lover", OR "A doctor’s daughter hides her girlfriend". – mahmud k pukayoor Mar 6 '17 at 13:31
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    You say that "in [your] language you use one word for male or female lover". Isn't that also the case in English? – WS2 Mar 6 '17 at 15:19
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    I think you may be using "on the nose" incorrectly. I'm not sure what you think it means but the real meaning is simply "accurate" "or correct" so it doesn't make a lot of sense to say "too on the nose". dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/on-the-nose I hope this helps. – chasly - supports Monica Dec 20 '20 at 16:30

You don't need any special vocabulary here. You can simply say:

A doctor’s daughter hides her female lover ...

This is perfectly fine and idiomatic and is probably the closest to the meaning of the sentence in the Original Poster's language. One could easily also say:

  • A doctor’s daughter hides her gay/lesbian lover ...

However, this overtly draws attention to the lover's sexual orientation in a way that the more neutral rendering with female does not.


A doctor’s daughter hides her lover

Two suggestions

  1. Use the lover's name, e.g.

A doctor’s daughter hides her lover, Janet ...

  1. Ask on Writing Stack Exchange where people are constantly dealing with the difficulties of writing about gender these days

P.S. You should avoid asking exactly the same question on two different Stack Exchanges, so you could perhaps delete this one, or phrase the new version more generally.

  • I may be wrong, but I don't think the system permits easy deletion of a question once it has answers. – Cascabel Dec 20 '20 at 17:31
  • Of course the lover’s name is Sam :-) – gnasher729 Dec 20 '20 at 22:19

In English, the female equivalent of gay is lesbian. Well, it depends. If you're speaking informally then gay/lesbian could be both used. If speaking formally, you can use homosexual

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    I'm not sure I'd agree that it's "more grammatically correct." – J.R. Mar 6 '17 at 11:11
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    @J.R. "semantically correct" might be a better way of phrasing that ? – Oosaka Mar 6 '17 at 12:40
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    @RozennKeribin and even in that case I would say it's iffy at best. While gay is used more for homosexual men it is not exclusively so. See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/47951/… – DRF Mar 6 '17 at 13:11
  • “Homosexual” is a word that I’d avoid outside the medical profession - and it doesn’t tell you anything about the gender so it’s useless for this question. And if the lover is bisexual, then “lesbian” would be wrong, but “bisexual” is also useless as far as the original question is concerned. “Female” seems to be easiest. – gnasher729 Dec 20 '20 at 22:24

It would seem to me that based on your comment about another language that what you're looking for is a way to communicate the gender without creating a sentence that makes it transparent that the gender is somehow important or that the writer is purposefully attempting to communicate it.

I indeed agree with others that “female lover” would be the simplest answer, but like all the other answers in English that sentence implies that the lover's gender is relevant to the story, much like “rich lover” would.

There is no way to communicate the gender in English without that implication, as far as I know, as one can with words such as “brother” or “aunt”, which communicate gender without arousing that impression.

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