1

How would you fill in the blank for the sentence "Some people do not want to conform to one ______ of the gender binary." All the words I can think of imply a spectrum, rather than two options (pole, extreme, end, etc.)

  • 3
    What's a binary? How does one conform to it? – tchrist Jun 7 at 3:26
  • 1
    Normally the two parts of binary are called one and zero. "Binary", by itself, refers to the base-2 numeral system. Its use has not, so far as I know, been extended in the way you are attempting to use it. You may want to re-word it to something like "some people do not want to conform to a binary classification." – Hellion Jun 7 at 3:41
  • 3
    Binary is an adjective and normally modifies a noun. This (rather stupid) exam question has promoted it to a noun by not mentioning what it modifies -- roles, choices, types, characters, identities, identifications, or whatever -- and therefore created an ungrammatical sentence that can't be improved by filling in the blank. – John Lawler Jun 8 at 16:11
  • 1
    @Hellion - With binary stars I doubt that one is called "zero" and the second "one". – Hot Licks Jun 8 at 16:41
  • @JohnLawler you're overlooking the quite standard use of binary as a noun. There's no failure in grammar here. It's an interesting question. – Reinstate Monica Jun 10 at 0:37

Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.