Genderly Speaking

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In chapter 12 of the A.P. Guide to Newswriting, there is a section about using gender pronouns without using language that throws the reader's attention off. However, we've got to make sure that we don't overemphazsize one gender or the other.

"Nowhere is the straining for fairness more contrived than in the juggling of personal pronouns."

I constantly find myself wondering if I said he or his, instead of keeping it fair. I was taught that if you weren't sure, than you should just say, "he or she." However, what I finally learned in this chapter is that using that phrase often confuses the reader and causes them to lose their attention on what they were reading. The example that Cappon used was

"The mayor warned every homeowner that he or she is responsible for clearing the snow in front of his or her yard."

How confusing is that? Instead Cappon said that we should simply re-write the sentence (something that most of us don't want to do in the first place) usuing "sexually neutral plural pronouns" such as, they or their. I find this technique much easier than trying to always place both genders in the sentence. This skill specifically helped me on longer papers that I've written, especially on the paper that I wrote in my STW dealing with gender in education.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on November 24, 2005 1:59 PM.

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