Use you rather than he or she

Using "you" also has another advantage: It saves you from gender-specific writing. In English, the third-person singular pronouns (he, she, him, her, his, hers) are gender specific. When you use one of these pronouns, some readers will think that you mean only people of that gender. To avoid even the perception of being exclusionary, avoid gender-specific writing when you are writing about or to both men and women.

If you write "employee," "customer," or "contractor," you may have a problem referring to that person later in the sentence or paragraph. Workarounds, such as combining the two genders into "s/he" or "he or she," are awkward.

"You" is not gender-specific. As you can see in Figure 8-6, the sentences with "you" or the imperative avoid the gender pronoun problem and also speak more directly to site visitors.

Of course, if you are talking about a specific person, it's fine to name the person and to use the appropriate gender-based pronoun to refer to that person. Figure 8-7 is a brief item about how well Jimmy Rollins was doing playing baseball.

Here are some good house hunting tips:

> Take pictures inside and outside the home

> Bring a spouse, family member, or friend.

> Make sure the house fits into your budget.

> Ask about utility and maintenance costs.

> Think of commuting time and costs.

imperative verb.

www.freddiemac.com

If the customer wants to read this article, he or she must become a registered user of this site.

If you want to read this article, you must become a registered user of this site.

Better - speaks to the site r * * i visitor. But it's still long S^y and it's not inviting.

Not Yet Registered?

Please take a moment to complete this one-time required leyistr ation. Once registered, you (j.iin access to wasliiiifjtonj>ost.com.

Figure 8-6 Using "you" also avoids the need for "he or she."

/^N Another good option: 1 yjJ A question heading and a friendly imperative.

BASEBALL: Double Your Pleasure

The most amaiing number about Jimmy Rollins' 31-game hitting streak entering tonight's game - which apparently ties the club record set by Ed Delahanty - is that he -

Posted by Bisebill Crook « 07:53 PM | 6 jsebill 2005 | Comments (!) | Trot tea tk (0)

Figure 8-7 Gender pronouns are okay if you're talking about a specific person.

www.baseballcrank.com/archives2/baseball_2005/index/php

/¡^ The "he" here is fine because f yyj the writer is talking about a specific person.

More on gender-neutral writing

Here are four techniques for gender-neutral writing:

Q^ The customer may return any item she is not satisfied with.

You may return any item you are not satisfied with.

C'JC\ A contractor must renew his insurance every year.

Contractors must renew their insurance every year.

Turn a noun phrase into a verb phrase.

f»4*i A prospective student must turn in his or her application at

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least two weeks before classes start.

A prospective student must apply at least two weeks before classes start.

Use "a," "an," or "the" instead of a pronoun

Your supervisor must explain her decision in writing. C^J^J Your supervisor must explain the decision in writing.

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