• Grammar Grumble

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    For the umpteenth time, I’ve read an article in which “she” has replaced the perfectly fine, impersonal pronoun “he,” as in, “Hospitals once employed dozens of specialists, each with knowledge of her own field and looking out for her patients’ welfare.”

    Each time I encounter such a monstrosity, I head back to the beginning of the sentence to discover when the female I apparently overlooked entered things. Equally atrocious and blatantly illogical is the pairing of a singular noun with the plural “their” to avoid the dreaded “his”: “Everyone  visited their regular doctor first, however.”

    Such confusion and nonsense may be PC, but it’s horrific writing. I worked as an editor immediately after graduating college, and my boss gave me a piece of invaluable advice: “Never write in such a way that a reader stops to puzzle out your meaning.” He’d need a hospital himself after perusing the examples above.

    Please, as a woman, I give all you oh-so-sensitive-to-women’s-struggles authors a break: “he” and “his” have signified the representative individual, whether man or woman, for centuries. Kindly continue that tradition. Bonus: with any luck, you’ll irritate the feminists.


    8:08 am on August 3, 2012