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Q: Write six original sentences in which pronouns are used in a consistent manner. What strategies might a writer use to ensure pronouns are used effectively?
A: Strategies for avoiding gender-specific pronouns Regardless of what you may have been taught in grammar school, [ [ the use of masculine third-person pronouns (he/ him/ his/ himself) as generic pronouns is no longer acceptable to many people in business communication. Whatever your own intentions may be, some readers will regard this usage as insulting, insensitive, or at the very least,
distracting. By "generic pronouns" I mean the pronouns we use when the gender of the person referred to is unknown or undefined, a common occurence in technical writing. The problem is that most people exclusively visualize a male "agent" when they encounter the masculine pronouns in print, even when they are clearly meant to be taken generically. In technical writing, you usually want your readers to visualize themselves as the agent. Since the purpose of business and technical communication is to convey information with clarity and precision, anything that distracts the reader's attention away from your topic must be looked upon as a problem to be solved. In this article I survey some of the strategies for avoiding "the pronoun problem" that have been suggested over the past few years. The focus here is on the practical; none of these strategies depart from English grammar as it is commonly used today. You can avoid the pronoun problem without being "a linguistic pioneer." Consider this passage from a machine shop "policies and procedures" manual: "The widget stamping machine (WSM) operator is responsible for keeping his machine calibrated. If he detects a calibration change of greater than .05%, he must notify his supervisor immediately. The supervisor will inspect the WSM, and inform the operator whether he can continue using the machine. " Ouch! Among its problems, this paragraph contains many examples of gender-specific pronouns. Let's see what can be done with it. Satisfied? Please click GOOD ]
genie23|Points 160|
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Asked 10/18/2010 2:54:38 PM
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