Pronouns make your writing easier by replacing nouns. With pronouns at your disposal, you can cut down on you listing of names and groups of people over and over again.
I don’t think we need to list the different pronouns. Those (a pronoun by the way) are fairly familiar to most people, but let’s talk about a couple of other topics.
First, let’s talk about special cases.
- Question words, like your WHO, WHAT AND WHICH are pronouns. For example, when you ask, “Who drove the bus?” WHO acts as a pronoun since you don’t use the actual noun.
- Short cuts-Let’s say you have a group of children, and you don’t want to list them over and over again, and you don’t want to use “they” because it doesn’t seem specific enough. You can use shorter statements like “the children.”
- I won’t try to list all of the categories, but there are also Pronouns that don’t really refer to anyone. (I just just one there.) NOBODY and EACH can be added to that list as well.
Now let’s talk about gender neutral pronouns, and ways you might be able to avoid the gender issue. This is difficult since language is rooted in gender in many different ways. Some languages have gender specifications for the nouns.
So how do we deal with gender when we don’t want gender to be an issue?
- Wimp out and use both genders. I really don’t like trying to read “his or her” throughout an entire piece. You can make that choice, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
- Use second person. When you just say you, you don’t have to worry about the gender.
- Parentheticals -Just try (s)he. I guess it could work for you. You can also use slashes (he/she)
- There are also a variety of invented pronouns. Considering how long this post has already become, I think I will save that topic for next week.