Re: use of he/she/they

Subject: Re: use of he/she/they
From: Tim Covil <covil_t -at- WIZTEC-USA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 10:10:09 -0400

Ron wrote:
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
Re-worded:
Only a mediocre person is always at their best.

I reply:
What about "Only a mediocre person is always in top
form?

>----------
>From: Ron Jenkins[SMTP:rjenkins -at- MYNA -dot- COM]
>Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 1997 6:08 AM
>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>Subject: Re: use of he/she/they
>
>A collection of useful methods for eliminating the generic "he"
>can be found in _The Non-Sexist Word Finder_:
>
>-the pronoun "he," when used generically, can be avoided, replaced,
> or defused in several ways:
>
>1. Everyone is a genius at least once a year; a real genius has
> his ideas closer together. (G.C. Lichtenberg)
>
> -rewrite the sentence in the plural
>
> Everyone is a genius at least once a year; real geniuses have
> their ideas closer together. (G.C. Lichtenberg)
>
>2. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his
> needs. (Karl Marx)
>
> -rewrite the sentence using we/us/our
>
> From each of us according to our abilities, to each of us
> according to our needs. (Karl Marx)
>
>3. No man knows his true character until he has run out of gas,
> purchased something on the instalment plan, and raised an
> adolescent. (Mercelene Cox)
>
> -rewrite the sentence in the second person
>
> You don't know your true character until you have run out of gas,
> purchased something on the instalment plan, and raised an
> adolescent. (Mercelene Cox)
>
>4. Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils,
> chooses both. (Oscar Wilde)
>
> -recast in the passive voice
>
> Pessimist: One who, when given the choice of two evils,
> chooses both. (Oscar Wilde)
>
>5. Repartee: What a person thinks of after he becomes a departee.
> (Dan Bennett)
>
> -omit the pronoun entirely
>
> Repartee: What a person thinks of after becoming a departee. (Dan
> Bennett)
>
>6. The American arrives in Paris with a few French phrases he has
> culled from a conversational guide or picked up from a friend who
> owns a beret. (Fred Allen)
>
> The American arrives in Paris with a few French phrases culled
> from a conversational guide or picked up from a friend who owns a
> beret. (Fred Allen)
>
>7. Can't a critic give his opinion of an omelette without being
> asked to lay an egg? (Clayton Rawson)
>
> -replace the masculine pronoun with an article
>
> Can't a critic give an opinion of an omelette without being
> asked to lay an egg? (Clayton Rawson)
>
>8. He who can take advice is sometimes superior to him who can
> give it. (Karl von Knebel)
>
> -replace the pronoun with such words as someone, anyone, one,
> the one, no one, etc.
>
> Someone who can take advice is sometimes superior to one who can
> give it. (Karl von Knebel)
>
>9. Everyone can master a grief but he that has it. (Shakespeare)
>
> Everyone can master a grief but the one who has it.
> (Shakespeare)
>
> [We all have the strength to endure the misfortunes of others.
> (La Rochefoucauld)]
>
>10. Education is helping the child realize his potentialities.
> (Erich Fromm)
>
> -use he and she or his and her, but only if there are not a
> great many of them
> -s/he is not recommended except in the most informal writing
>
> Education is helping the child realize his or her
> potentialities. (Erich Fromm)
>
>11. He is forced to be literate about the illiterate, witty about
> the witless, and coherent about the incoherent. (John Crosby)
>
> -replace the pronoun with a noun (or a synonym for a noun used
> earlier)
>
> The politician is forced to be literate about the illiterate,
> witty about the witless, and coherent about the incoherent. (John
> Crosby)
>
>12. To find a friend one must close one eye--to keep him, two.
> (Norman Douglas)
>
> To find a friend one must close one eye--to keep a friend,
> two. (Norman Douglas)
>
>13. When you see a snake, never mind where he came from. (W.G.
> Benham)
>
> -when he refers to an animal whose sex is unknown or
> irrelevant, replace he with it
>
> When you see a snake, never mind where it came from. (W.G.
> Benham)
>
>14. When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is
> trying to run away, it is best to let him run. (Abraham
> Lincoln)
>
> When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and it is
> trying to run away, it is best to let it run. (Abraham
> Lincoln)
>
>15. Only a mediocre person is always at his best. (Somerset
> Maugham)
>
> -the singular they has strong supporters; preferable to avoid
> in the most formal prose
>
> Only a mediocre person is always at their best. (Somerset
> Maugham)
>
> -may also use masculine and feminine pronouns in alternating
> sentences, paragraphs, examples, chapters, although this can
> be annoying
>
> -may use specific genderless nouns (the average person,
> workers, etc.) or substitute job titles or other
> descriptions for the pronoun
>============================================================
>Ron Jenkins, Technical Communications
>SilCom Technology
>5620 Timberlea Blvd., Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA L4W 4M6
>Web: http://www.silcomtech.com
>Voice: (905) 238-8822 Fax: (905) 238-1887
>E-mail (work): silmark -at- silcomtech -dot- com
>E-mail (personal): rjenkins -at- myna -dot- com
>============================================================
>
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>

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