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16 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it correct to write "this book discusses"?

I often see people write the following: this book will discuss... or this paper has discussed... I once wrote in a paper in English class that had the sentence: "this article discusses...&...
Pame's user avatar
  • 287
0 votes
2 answers
274 views

Is the pronoun "it" gender-neutral pronoun? [closed]

Is the pronoun "it" a gender-neutral one? If so, then is it okay to use it to refer to supernatural entities?
Tyy's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

Are there animacy restrictions on the use of contractions? [duplicate]

Are the examples (a) and (b) equally acceptable? (1a) That cop's very short and stout (1b) That cup's very short and stout (2a) Her spouse's been always attention-grabbing (2b) Her blouse's been ...
Zoltan's user avatar
  • 493
0 votes
2 answers
255 views

Can you use "him" for a wolf?

I encountered this: This is like dangling a big, juicy steak in front of a wolf, without letting him eat it. Using "him" for a wolf sounds sort of non-native English, as if the sentence ...
S B's user avatar
  • 9
34 votes
6 answers
7k views

What is the difference between “they” and “it” for people, especially for those people who identify as non-binary?

I’ve heard that they is used as a word to refer to people who are non-binary. Since English is not my first language, I’m not sure what the difference is between they and it in these usages. Of course,...
ististyle's user avatar
  • 459
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

smitten with/by

Fowler's smit reads Its most frequent use is as the participle smitten, ‘infatuated, fascinated’. When the object of the fascination is a person, with is much more often used than by; when the object ...
GJC's user avatar
  • 2,509
3 votes
1 answer
296 views

Question about "The portrait utilizes a palette of..."

Is this sentence correct? The portrait utilizes a palette of grays, blacks and blues. Doesn’t it sound like the portrait painted itself? Shouldn’t it be "The artist utilized a palette of grays, ...
Ricardo Alexandre's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Using Verbs With Inanimate Objects

I have two ways to write the same sentence: The writing sings. The writing is musical. To me, the first sounds a lot better. It's better, I think, because I'm using a verb to describe what the ...
bugsyb's user avatar
  • 260
0 votes
2 answers
70 views

Animateness-neutral "its"

The House of Representatives shall chuse their [modernly, its] Speaker. U.S. Const. art. I, § 2 Wouldn't the use of its here be "animateness-neutral", so to speak, as opposed to their?
GJC's user avatar
  • 2,509
1 vote
1 answer
179 views

Why is "the tail/house of the dog" correct, but "the bowl of the dog" not?

Upd.: I added the results of Ngram at the ending of this post. I have some sources below which I can make the next conclusions from: "the bowl of the dog" is incorrect "the house of the dog" is ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 735
0 votes
2 answers
828 views

Using "he" or "she" for an animal not a person?

Is it possible to use the personal pronoun subject he or she for a nonhuman animal according to their sex? One of my friends said that there is a possibility of using it for animals. My concern is ...
Gbamou Foromo's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
39 views

Thoughts on my neologism? Is it new?

Anthropomorphize according to thesaurus.com has no synonyms and no antonyms. I've come up with the verb 'inanimate'. Ex: Historians, usually of a left wing persuasion, have a marked tendency to rely ...
Zach Korner's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
194 views

Can a program name be possessive? (i.e. Notepad++'s plugin manager) [closed]

On Stack Overflow, I found a question with the following title: what is the notepad++ plugin manager server url While editing the question for readability, I changed the title to: What is the ...
Stevoisiak's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
9k views

Which is correct: "staff that may have this information" or "staff who may have this information"? [closed]

Should I use 'who' or 'that' in the following sentence? Any information you have, or any leads to staff who may have this information would be very much appreciated. Any information you have, ...
Caroline's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why is it common in English to address animals as "it"?

Why is it common in English to address animals as "it"? It's not an inanimate or abstract object, they have a gender and they're alive. A chair, idea, tree, rock, etc are an "it", but why does ...
shinzou's user avatar
  • 1,193
0 votes
1 answer
183 views

Verb [will] -- in [Door won't budge] and [Husband won't budge] -- same meaning?

1B. Battery won't hold a charge. 1N. Noise from the device won't stop. 2D. [ Door is stuck and won't budge. ] 2H. [ Husband stuck on name and won't budge! ] --- (Baby Name Game) For ...
HizHa's user avatar
  • 101
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

When referring to an inanimate object, is the use of "itself" proper?

I'm describing how to use M$ remote desktop in an email with the sentence below. "You can use any software or hardware attached to that computer as if you were sitting at the machine itself." The ...
user38537's user avatar
  • 499
1 vote
0 answers
196 views

Can 'who' refer to an inanimate object such as a government body? [duplicate]

I'm wondering if it is possible to use 'who' in a sentence like this: 'the name of the government body who has assigned an identification number to the document.'
Irina's user avatar
  • 9
25 votes
7 answers
23k views

Pronoun question: referring to inanimate objects as 'he' or 'she'

I read the following claim concerning pronouns referring to inanimate objects: Anything that is meant to contain you, protect you or provide you with something beneficial is [often referred to as] ...
Augustin's user avatar
  • 303
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can I Switch from "it" to "he" or "she" when referring to an animal in a story? [closed]

This one is a question I can't seem to find an answer for. I do have a friend, a professional editor, who told me she saw no problem with me switching from "it" to "he" or "she" when referring to an ...
Trish E. Harmon's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
234 views

Inanimate nouns used in the phrase "want/need somebody to do"

I don't need [this document ] to contain a disclaimer formulated in such a straightforward way. I want [my words or my assertion] to sound convincing in the meeting tomorrow. Having done a google ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
580 views

Usage of "let" with an inanimate subject

Can anyone help me and explain if the usage of "let" together with "these things" is grammatically correct in the following passage? We have created many useful things such as airplanes, trains, ...
Motoko M's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
3k views

“Can” vs “Able to”: People/Animals vs. Inanimate Objects

I’m wondering if the English grammar “rule” given below, which I have heard from numerous non-native speakers, has any validity. “can” is used for people, animals, and inanimate objects. “...
curious-proofreader's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is it correct to use an apostrophe to indicate something that belongs to an object? [duplicate]

I'm 18 years old, & I'm working on a new blog. I'm trying to get all of the help that I can get with English. This is the title that I'm planning on using for the first post: Reasons for this ...
short.fuse.5254's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
129k views

Using 'her' vs. 'its' to refer to a country [duplicate]

I am currently reading Liddell Hart's "History of the Second World War", and I'm wondering why he sometimes uses her/she when talking about Japan. In my understanding of English, it should be its or ...
ltsstar's user avatar
  • 163
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is it grammatical to say of some potential meaning that it is "able to be said" or "trying to be said"?

A recent commenter on a recent word-search question nominated a term as “an even better word for what is trying to be said.” This seems to me to attribute intention to something—a ...
Brian Donovan's user avatar
59 votes
3 answers
4k views

What word denotes a belief that apparently inanimate objects actually express a malicious, autonomous will?

I came across this word a few years ago, but can't find it now. I do not mean deodand, animism, pathetic fallacy, scapegoating, anthropomorphism, or personification (Word for attaching blame to ...
Dutch Jeff's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
13k views

Isn't "who"/"whose" only used for people?

Why is the usage of whose correct in the following sentence: In the foothills of that large mountain range are the sources of a river whose course was not fully mapped until this century. I was ...
user61133's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
4k views

Verbs with Inanimate Subjects

Is it appropriate to use phrases such as the following in technical prose? The road runs south. The river turns to the west. While I understand that literary texts often use such constructions, ...
C. K. Child's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Can an inanimate object "claim" to do something? Like a car that "claims" 45 mpg?

Excited to find this website! Is it incorrect to say that a "dietary supplement claims to treat" a condition, or that a car "claims to get 40 mpg"? I thought that as these are inanimate objects, ...
littlewing's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
140k views

'Who' or 'which' in reference to companies [duplicate]

What is appropriate to use here, who or which? There are around 50 companies who/which deliver scanning services to private and business consumers.
Prasad's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
1 answer
216 views

Can "alight" be used in reference to inanimate objects?

Merriam Webster says that alight means, among other things, "to descend from or as if from the air and come to rest." So, the question is: Can one use alight in a sentence like "A small kite ...
user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
17k views

"What am I" vs. "who am I"

Yesterday I was going through my son's books and at one place it was written I have a long neck, I have spots on my body — what am I? I thought it should have been I have a long neck, I ...
ViSu's user avatar
  • 133
-2 votes
1 answer
403 views

"...FDA, who...." vs "...FDA, which..." - relative-pronouns of authorities

I'm referring to the following sentence: "Observes express their concerns whether the FDA, which/who is already overrun with work..." My question is: Are authorities in the English language treated ...
rena's user avatar
  • 1,038
11 votes
3 answers
56k views

Using the pronouns "he" and "she" for animals

I've been wondering for some time under which conditions the pronouns he/she can be used when talking about animals. I know that they are used when talking about pets (esp. larger ones) and when you ...
Katrina's user avatar
  • 111
-2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can “whose” refer to inanimate objects? [duplicate]

I was baffled while using this sentence: I went into some blog site whose sole purpose. . . . My question is about whose. Is it correct to use it there?
kavinhuh's user avatar
  • 101
-1 votes
1 answer
2k views

Possessive form of inanimate subject [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using the possessive 's correct in “the car's antenna”? Is it "role of the FRG" or "the FRG's role"? I know that although the FRG is not a person, ...
arik-so's user avatar
  • 481
6 votes
1 answer
16k views

Can 'whose' be used for objects? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is the word 'whose' referring to an inanimate object correct in this sentence? Is there a more appropriate word? Basically I'm wondering if a sentence like this is ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 279
2 votes
0 answers
94 views

Using "whose" with non-animate nouns [duplicate]

Duplicate: Is the word 'whose' referring to an inanimate object correct in this sentence? Possessive connecting word for inanimate object Usage of “whose” not referring to a person. ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 2,858
1 vote
4 answers
30k views

Use of "it" and "its" for people and animals

Can I use it and its for people? Example: The fear is the essential attribute of a human nature. It figures a crucial role in its survival. where its means human's. Can I use it and its for ...
itun's user avatar
  • 289
3 votes
0 answers
346 views

possessive connecting word for inanimate object [duplicate]

Duplicate of: Is the word 'whose' referring to an inanimate object correct in this sentence? Usage of “whose” not referring to a person. Referring to some attribute of an inanimate ...
user1359's user avatar
  • 1,488
1 vote
0 answers
942 views

Possessive "that's" [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? Is the use of "that's" correct in the sentence below? Imagine a frame with two sets of strings stretched across, making ...
susan's user avatar
  • 19
137 votes
5 answers
203k views

Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object?

We lit a fire whose fuel was old timber wood. Is the word whose referring to fire, an inanimate object, correct in this sentence? Or is there a more appropriate word?
nicholas ainsworth's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
15k views

"He" / "she" vs. "it" regarding beloved objects

Is that normal to regard a beloved object (an animal, a car, a book) as he/she? If yes, what gender should be used in this case? One comment in this question touched the tendency to humanize things ...
Vladislav Rastrusny's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Usage of "whose" not referring to a person [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use “who's”? I noticed the use of "whose" in the following sentence I wrote does not refer to a person: ...
luqui's user avatar
  • 225
4 votes
0 answers
427 views

What is the possessive form of "what"? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? First of all, I'm not a native speaker so I can't rely on my intuition in this specific case. For a very long time I was sure that "whose&...
RomanSt's user avatar
  • 788
16 votes
3 answers
56k views

Do things use apostrophe for indicating possessive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using the possessive 's correct in “the car's antenna”? If someone owns something I would say: Mom's car. But if the owner is not a person, does it ...
Shaz's user avatar
  • 1,913
1 vote
0 answers
615 views

Other ways of saying whichs [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? Of course there isn't a word whichs (as far as I know), but I am talking about the possessive form of which. Sometimes I ...
user1823's user avatar
  • 511
2 votes
1 answer
979 views

Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use "who's"?

This came up in describing an input to a function: A handle to the daemon who's name is desired. (Daemon is a type of process on a system.) Somehow, "who's" just doesn't seem right because it's ...
Aaron H.'s user avatar
  • 161
34 votes
5 answers
28k views

Is using the possessive apostrophe correct in "the car's antenna"?

I know that to mark possession of an item you can use 's like in the following example: The user's password shall not be blank. However, is it correct to use the following: The car's antenna is ...
Stecy's user avatar
  • 451