RE: His/Her v. Their

Subject: RE: His/Her v. Their
From: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: "Cardimon, Craig" <ccardimon -at- M-S-G -dot- com>, 'Peter Neilson' <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2012 15:23:40 +0000

I too am uncomfortable with "their", and unless there is a need to specifically call out one gender instead of another, I tend to use "his"--and I would expect writers who are women to tend to use "hers". I see nothing wrong with this, and I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to not feel threatened when I read "her" instead of "his". I get it; the text is talking about a hypothetical person who could be either male or female. On the other hand, if I were writing documents for use primarily in India or China, where (because of sex selective abortion and infanticide) there are literally tens of millions of "missing" girls, I would seriously consider using ONLY "hers" and "she".

Another place where writers need to deal with this more deliberately is in texts for Western children. Over the past few decades Western culture, in a deeply misguided attempt to synthetically create gender quality, has shifted to using "her" in examples almost exclusively when speaking of children and to children. Instead of this, I would like to see equal use of "his" and "hers". Gender equality is achieved through equal pay and promotion for equal work, not by Orwellian attempts to change the language.

Having said that, I should add that when "their" shifts enough to be included in a prescriptive dictionary, I'll probably start using it.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Cardimon, Craig
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 7:45 AM
To: 'Peter Neilson'; 'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com'
Subject: RE: His/Her v. Their

I greatly prefer "Youse Guys."

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Peter Neilson
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2012 10:48 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: His/Her v. Their

On Fri, 26 Oct 2012 10:27:30 -0400, Cardimon, Craig <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
wrote:

> I tend to use either "you" or, in the case you mentioned, "their."

I work hard at circumlocution. "Their" goes against my schooling, and "his" (what my schooling taught) seems to have become unacceptable.

What I would like is reader-determined language, where the desired wording automagically appears in real-time replacement as needed.

Perhaps several separate versions, automatically created, accessible through separate links:
[click here for text with pronouns with traditional agreement by number] [click here for text with stupidly ambiguous pronouns hse, hirs, hirm] [click here for text with duplicated pronouns he/she, his/her, him/her] [click here for text with plural pronoun misused as singular]

Then nobody would complain. Or perhaps everybody.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
His/Her v. Their: From: Becca
RE: His/Her v. Their: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: His/Her v. Their: From: Peter Neilson
RE: His/Her v. Their: From: Cardimon, Craig

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