Employ plurals for gender neutrality

Essential lesson #7: employ plurals for gender neutrality. Another in a series of tips from the forthcoming ‘Of Is and By: How to be a better writer overnight.’

Plurals shorten sentences — and solve gender problems. An egalitarian, progressive society, at the time of #metoo and #timesup creates gender problems in masculine-based languages.

The days of referring to individuals as ‘he’ are thankfully over but using ‘he or she’ is also cumbersome.  What to do? Let plurals come to your rescue.

Here’s how:

Original

When I tell a student to turn in his or her paper on time, I want him or her to do so.

Edit

When I tell students to turn in their papers on time, I want them to do so.

Commentary

  1. “a student” to “students”
  2. “his or her paper” to “their papers”
  3. “I want him or her” to “I want them.”

The benefits are clear, with a shorter sentence and no gender bias.

This is certainly one everyone should adopt.

#humberpr #copy #prwriting

Author: rotmanprwriter

PRWriter, Copy Doctor, Humber College PR and writing Prof

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