0

For instance, is it grammatical?

I looked from the window and spotted a person. It crossed the street.

10
  • 2
    Why would you use "it" for a person? Are you trying to use gender-neutral pronouns? – Cascabel Oct 22 '19 at 15:31
  • 1
    @Cascabel for instance in Russian the grammatical gender is tied to the gender of the noun rather than the biological sex. Since the word for a person "persona" is feminine, we in Russian use "she" even if referring to a man. If we use the word "litso" (lit. face, but can mean a person), we use neuter gender with pronoun "it" and so on. – Anixx Oct 22 '19 at 16:52
  • 1
    Hi Anixx. It looks like you are trying to apply Russian grammar rules to English. It won't work. English does not (usually) genderize nouns. – Cascabel Oct 22 '19 at 19:05
  • 1
    @Cascabel in Russian a ship is masculine, a boat is feminine, a vessel is neuter and the gender in particular case will depend on the name itself (named after man or woman) – Anixx Oct 24 '19 at 5:45
  • 1
    @Cascabel submarine is usually called with two words in Russian "underwater boat". Since the word for boat "lodka" is feminine, the whole thing is feminine. Rarely we can call it "submarina" which is feminine as well. If the name of the submarine is masculine then when calling it by name we use masculine gender (for instance, "Kursk" or "Komsomolets"). Officialy Kursk was an "underwater cruiser" so since the word for a cruiser "kreyser" is masculine, when called this way we use masculine gender. – Anixx Oct 24 '19 at 16:35
0

No, in this context a human should be refereed to as "he", "she" or "they".

"It" is used for inanimate objects or non-human animals. Although, if you knew the gender of the animal, you might still use he or she in some circumstances.

Thus

I looked from the window and spotted a person. They crossed the street.

I looked from the window and spotted a man. He crossed the street.

I looked from the window and spotted a girl. She crossed the street.

but

I looked from the window and spotted a dog. It crossed the street.

I looked from the window and spotted a car. It drove down the street.

however, possibly

I looked from the window and spotted George's mare. She galloped down the street.

4
  • 2
    You might use it with a figure (meaning a person you can't see well enough to make a guess at their gender). – Kate Bunting Oct 22 '19 at 16:42
  • @Kate Bunting interesting! – Anixx Oct 22 '19 at 16:47
  • @Kate Bunting possibly it also would work with "sihlouette" – Anixx Oct 22 '19 at 16:54
  • @KateBunting Agreed. An indistinct figure then almost becomes a thing rather than a human being . Or you could revert to the gender-neutral "they" – Peter Jennings Oct 22 '19 at 17:54

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