It’s Dry, but it’s Inclusive!

This morning it hit me:

“I’m a doctoral student now.”

Perhaps it was the three short papers due on Friday. Or the fact one of those papers is a book report and I had yet to read even a page. Or, maybe, it was the type of book I was starting:




Thought so.

Reading a different but similar book the other day, I was glad to come across the following section, on gender inclusive language in research writing. As you know, I’m a bit of a nut about inclusive language. Here’s the excerpt:

“Typically in the past, one wrote in sexist noninclusive archaic English. Singular masculine pronouns commonly referred to an indefinite person. However, that practice effectively excluded women. Old style manuals used terms like ‘mankind’ for all people. Language and writing style values have changed. In contemporary English such exclusive language is not acceptable. Many researchers have learned English composition using ‘he,’ ‘him,’ and ‘his’ as the correct way to refer to any person. To correct this practice and to conform to contemporary values, some simple editing procedures may be employed. In a few cases, one might use both pronouns (e.g., he or she, him or her, his or hers), however, in many cases the subject may be changed to a plural or to the specific name of the person or role. Using plurals allows for the use of inclusive plural pronouns. In other cases the author can simply edit the sentence structure to avoid exclusive language. One must however keep the pronouns agreeing in number with the nouns to which they refer.

Int the past many roles were defined in gender-specific terms (e.g., chairman). A more acceptable and contemporary practice is simply to refer to the person in nongender specific terms, (e.g. chair of the board). Many contemporary English style manuals provide many more suggestions about this change in writing style.”

Here’s to a generation of gender inclusive research writers!

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