Re: Gender Neutral Pronouns

From: Dale Johnstone (
Date: Thu Mar 29 2001 - 20:24:37 MST

Using 've' & 'ver' is confusing. I mentally substitute a 'him' or 'her' on the fly as I'm reading. If you're worried about clarity, you should avoid adding extra hoops for the reader to jump though, the subject matter is tricky enough.

You also loose a little credibility for using it. It stands out more than anything else. Another reason to avoid it.

This following flows quite nicely. I have no problem with the idea that Jimmy is an AI:

>"Jimmy started it when he said that gender-neutral writing shouldn't be
>difficult or confusing, and that, though it might represent a problem for
>inexperienced writers, he was pretty sure that it wasn't that hard to

I've always thought it rather silly to refer to a ship as a 'she' because it's not alive. However referring to an AI as a 'she' sounds quite reasonable. Okay, so there's the small technicality of it having no gender, but people naturally tend to anthropomorphize anyway - it maps rather well onto how people think.

As well and the obvious sex attributes 'he' or 'she' gives to an object, by far the most important attribute is that of a living mind. A 'he' implies a person more than a male with male reproductive organs. An 'it' implies an inanimate object.

I vote the SysOp be a she, you then have a spare gender to use for talking about SysOp - citizen interactions.

*On published documents you can place a little footnote somewhere explaining why she is a 'she' and not an 'it' and blah blah blah, why we don't usually like to anthropomorphize, etc. etc. Easy.

Please reconsider it. (No pun intended.)

Dale Johnstone.

(BTW For those wondering, Dale is a 'he', well... most of the time anyway. On Sundays he transforms into a Dalek to spice up the local church service. "REPENT OR BE EXTERMINATED!". (Sorry, it's been a long day.))

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