Possible Duplicate:
Referring to objects as “she”

English officially does not have genders like German or other languages; for example, a chair is an it, not a he or she.

However, when you refer to a spaceship you say she, and you say daughter molecule in DNA replication narration, which implies a molecule is a she.

Where can you find out the “hidden” gender of nouns? Is there a rule to go by? Why not say “son molecule”?

  • 2
    Related and possible duplicate: Referring to objects as “she”, Using “she” with gender-neutral nouns
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 21, 2012 at 20:06
  • @RegDwight: The first link is a dup that really does address OP's concerns here, but I think the second is more about (off-topic, imho) interpretation of poetic usage in song lyrics. Aug 21, 2012 at 20:32
  • 1
    Whorf talks about English covert gender in one of the articles in Language, Mind, and Reality. Ships, airplanes, large weapons, and unknown cats, for instance, are she, while unknown dogs are he. As the previous owner of a female dog and a male cat, I'm here to tell you that that's what people often do. Aug 21, 2012 at 23:08


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