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When to Use

Female Nouns
• Before You Read
A. Conntcl with the topic. Put nch noun ~low inro thHor•tcl rolwnn ln



["' 1· I"····1
8. Palr.,-ork. CompattanswentoActivity Aa~. Whichofthesewords

C. Pttviewthett00dlng. Look qukk!yovertheartideonpageslS- 17to

complete the PttViewing Chart ~low.

1. Ti!leofthueading: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
l. Keyword.. (Whatword11ppear l . Fem.alenouns.(Findl""""
H'Yefal.!imei7 Ll<tlmo!l'.) fematenoun1inthefNding.)


4. l thinkthi1readingi1 probab(y a\>o<J1

A U DI ~
Reading Passage QOWNl.OID

When to Use Female Nouns

by.Mignon Fogarty

1 T<><lay'stnpi•i•lheuscof fominine nou ns•u<h as"actro.s" and

"com odionno."Thoscdays , ~plooftenscosuchtormsas .. xi.i,but
it's also common to hear at loast some of them. So what exactlyaro
themodernrulo•forusingsuch temu?Actually,thisisn't a martorof
5 grammar. It'• about writing !o minimiu thc potential for ttodors to
drowcondusions'youdon'twant toconvey.

Olher Languagts Have Moro Feminine Nouns

ltcouldbewon;o.Jnsomclanguages, mostnounshavcdifferent forms
for different stxos. for example, in Spanish, a male lawyer is an abagado,
10 andafemale lawyeris anabogada.Furthermorc,insomc longuages,ovon
In Hebrew, rrui means "•aw" fur ma,.ulino subjects, while raata moan•
"saw" for feminine subjocts. In Mandarin Chino..,, a man can "marry"
•woman, but a woman car1 only "hi: married to" a man
15 hen in English, thcro uud to b< moro female-specific nouns than
thcroaro now. Cmturicsago,~plrustdnow- obsolerc'nounssuch

~~~l~,~~:~~~~: 1 1:~:~'.:;::~:~:~~·~ ~~~~: ~~;~)~~~:~ I~::;~ot..

thereasonthatthcttmainingonestcndtoat1ractat1tntion ~•146

' J"w"""'....._""" ""O('W;>o"' l><W'°""'""'""''"I

' °"""'" "'-'""""' '..,i~,. it ~wt old;ot.
10 PalttdNoun1AttOK
Sometimes male- and fcmalc· spttific noun< don't suggest problematic
rnessagc .. Poirs suchu"prince" and"prince5'," "duke"ond "ducheu,"l
"abbo!"and "abbes.."•areunobjectionable.'lnthexpoir1,thcmak-
•pecifictermnevcrrek rstobothmale-s andfemale-s. Evcnthoughit
n mightbcconvcnicnttohaveawordtorcfCT toanychildof a !cingor
quttn, "p1ince" canon!ymeana!cingorquun'sson.So.ifthc scxn are
treatedtqually, eachone havingits Qwnt..,.m,thefcmale-spttifictcrmi•
probably OK Gmder-Nrutral Nouns, Such as "Flisht Attcndant,"
Jo HanllttomcSl:andard
Thc nCJ1t-easiestc.ascs are th<iscwhereagcnder-neutu!termhas
"ftrefightcr.""poliaoffiar," "ma.ilcarrltr,"and "!lish1anendant"how
gainedcurrency.• Definitelyusethesl:.
15 Problem1Arioe Wben • No11n bi111 to C.UOut Only One Sex
toeithcrsa,mdanothttthatrefenonlylOwomen. Taketheword
"author." It can refer to men or women in a sentence JUcli .., "Our agency
represenu nany authors." But if you "author" to ttfcr to writers of
.o eithcrsa,andthcudusivdyfeminine "auth<>ress" t<lreh:rlOfemale
butnowayofrefmingspccillallytomaleauthon. The impliationis
that most authon IITT' male, and that ifs wonh pointing out when one
of them isn't. As Tht 01.m/wid~ Grammar oft~ English LJngua~ uys,
45 "Themarkcdtcrmsuggcstssomcdiffcrenccinstatusandmayimplylo~r
I1Thttt Ever• Good Rn.son to Writc "Female Doctor"t
example, "doctor" can be either masculine or fnnininc. Sally McConneU-
50 Ginet, a linguist at ComeU Univenlty who specializes in language and
want 10 emphasize that • certain doct<Jr is a woman. Do you write 'male
doctor' in ~ imilar contexts?" Hcr point is that sexism in society makes ii

J . . . , . _ , . , . . , _ , . ,.... ~.-"'.....,higll''"~
• _ ,_ 11wi...ino1._o1_ ... , _

,· .........
~ --.. bdn..l,a«q><<.l. .. ....illy ......,. p«>pl<
• After You Read
Understanding the Te1tt
A. Compre~nslon
I Mc n tif)'inil tl•e Aulloor'~ Pu rpo~e (lie l""J>Ok oft he aukk is •o _
i . Finding the M a in idea A main idea ofth10 article is that_
@yu11 shouldnc'"''"°"afo11in incnouniu.stcadofa11"'-"'ulioe o r
gcrKlcr -neu rr•lnoKJn
<()you shoulduscthe !ypeof noun that ~texprc:s.=)"(l\l<fflCaning
<D:> inEns[i•h.thcrcuMxl to lx· m u r" (emininenoun•thanthu earenow

l. Scanning for D.-taih According to the read i n~ in _ , lh.:' form ol a wrb

C<ln<lcpen<i On lMl,'C?ldcro(iis•uhje<:t
<D l lebrcw

4.Sa n ningfnrT>dail.• An"'l"iv;l cntn<><1nl"'irl ikc"p rin<,,-an<l~111i n1·c•<" ­

OO is al"'ll)'sOK tou>e

<O is"°' coinmon in most lan guage•

~.Scanning for Details Using a tum like "authoress" !o refer to fcmak

@somcprople mightnot knowthe""'d

())1hctcrm n>a)· becom ooboolcto
<O it~ no! a common torm
(~ i!•uggc•t<t hatfenialoaurhn,..havcluw~• •••hL•

1• C>>op<..,2l-to!J.. fMIOl<' N0<'1U

6. ScanningforI>iotailo Accordingtotheauihor,wl>cnyouaren'tsurc
whetherifoOKtouseafemale noun,youshoold_
®always use tM male.specific term
(0 try to find a dilfrttnt word to use
B. Voc.but.ry
UnMrline these words in the ttading passage on p.agc• 15-1 7. Then oomplct•

l rot•ntial imply ttlt"Vant uclusivcly avoid gcnder-ncutril I

I . Usingth•tcrm"fcmal•doctor" instcadofsimply "doctor" can _ _
that tMre i• a dilfrttnc• between male and female doctors.
2. Bdorc using a female noun, you should alwa)"' considcr whether or oot it
convcysyourmessagccorm:tly.Olherwisc.youhavcthe _ _ •
,. _ _ termslil<c"flightattendant"a,..,alwaysacceptable
4. fi:malenounsdonotoccur _ _ inEnglish.Theyalsoexistinothcr
S. Somctim.., it's OK to use t(fms lil<c "actress." That'• when the gender of the
pc:nonis _ _ toth• dii.cussion.
6.Tryto _ _ usinggcnder-specificnounswhcnyoua,..,nottryingto
diffe,..,ntiatc bctwttn men and women.

Workwithapartncrtoanswcrthequ..,tions bclow.
nounsthanthcrc a,..,now.Ccnturi..,ago,pc:opkusednow-obsolctcnouns
.uchas'tcacher...,;'ooldic.....:and'minis1rcss:" Whydoyouthink English
spc:al<crsusefcmalc-specificnounsl..., fm;iucntlynowthantheyusedto!
List your ideas below.

2. Do you ever use gcndeMpccific nouns in English! Why or why not!

Doyou agrttwiththc authoTthatthcuwordscanbcoffensivc!
Building Vocabulary
U1lna: f e male anclGender-Neutral "'-11
Sona nouns that u~d to~ common, like _,hmnan and .,......,rd£si, u e
gtnder-biued. Gcnder-ncutnd terms were crc•ted to replace them. Look
•tthi1 li•tof(!<'ndcr-bi>K<lnounsilJldthcirgtndcr-neutnlfonns.

businesspcnon, businesseucutiYe
1tcward/ste.....i... _.,.,..,.

congress"'""' CongrcMpenOn,congrnoionalrcprarntali""
foreman boss,lcader,forepoonon

U~ t hcpluralforrnofthcnounwhennec .. sary.

l .Haveyou>ttnilJlysalesmen inthisstorc11"""
2.Theinvenlionofthe aulOmobilehadaneiwrmousdfectonthc
development of mankin d _ _ _ _ .
l.Ouroongrcssman g.a.nospcechinfrontofcity
4.l<>hnisthe forcman _ _ __ h<re.He"ll showyouaround
whenyoustartwork tomorrow.
S . Thestcward~• havca.skedu1tostay~ated
untilthep!onecomesto • OOrnpletestop.
B. Match tach gtndtr-bil..lotd ttrm with its gcndcr·Mutnl form.
J. _ clWrman Lnewfttportcr
l ._brothcrhood b.prthi11orio;pcrwn
)._anchorman c. childcmprovickr
4. _ cowboy d..kinship
s. _ manning c.chairpenon
6. _cavcman
7. _nanny g.staffing

C. Complctttoe.hstntmawith 1 noun fromthcboxonpage:Worfrom

ActiviryB. !Jf.l'tl>eplunlfonnofthcnounwht11neasiary.
!. Myneighbor°sl<.itchencaughttittyesterdoy.Tt11 _ _ __
l.Willyoucalla ?Thcwashingmadtine is
3.You<lbcncrwearawanncoa.t.Thc _ _ __
Wd it~ going to snow tonight.
4.Hi,l'mAl&nandl"Ubcyour _~_ _ this~ning.Ca.n
I $W1 you off with something to drink!
S.Someonclcftabricfcaseundcrthetablc.l sawthrtc _ _ __
h.avinga mttting ht.., a minute ago. It might belong to one of them.
6. We nttd to inc..,..., in our watthowc. We don"t
havcmough cmployttltokc-epupwiththcwork.load.
7.Jand«idedtogobacktoworkaflcrshc hadab<iby,soshc hircd

8.Thc orchaeologim foundcvidcru:cthat _ _ __

thc oreaoverlO.OOOyearsago.
9. Inttda tohelpmcwiththi•dress.l'mnotsu..,

IO.lfttl1strong _ _ __ wi1hmyfricndE.lcna.Shc'1likt
Reading Skill

It could bt" wor..,. (=in ideJl) In some longuages mo.I nouns have
different forms for different oc~c., (suppor1ing~4if) f<lruamplc. in,amalcloWf"risan~,andafemalclaWf"Tisan~

Find these sentences in the reading. Write M next to the main ideas and S nut
I. _ In Hcbttw, ""'means "saw" for masculin• subjeclL while raata mean•
· saw" for fem inine subjects
l. _ Furtherrnorc,insomclanguages,evcnvcrbscanha~dilfcrcntform.,
l. _ Even in English, there used to tit" more female-specific nouns tllim
then: arc now.

S._Hcrpointisthatsaisminsocicq· makesitea.sytoscndrn.... ges in

our wordchoiccthatwedon'tintendtoscnd
6. _ Unfortunatdy,cvenifyoufollowthisguidelineofusinggcnder
neutralnounforms inmostcasts,andgendcr-•pcdftcnoumonly
7. _ Anothcrcascinpoint:"actress."
8. _ lnthcsccases, avoidrefcrringtoapenon"•scxifpossiblc,and ififs
B. Apptythe Ru dingSkilt
Rud the onide below. Fill in each blank with a suppot!ing detail <><uamplc
• lnEngli$h. 1he..,aretertainterm1tha! )'Quma)'wanttoavoidwl\fn
referringtopt0ple~ethnkhleioreconomic !!a!U!

• lhettanalsopoliticallyc<><re.:1mm1fordiffe"ntgroup1ofproplt.
• four audience mayhelti~likt!y<<'.:> want tQh~arwhat yuu have tQsayor
ttadwhotyuuhavcrowriteify<>urlanguage ispoten!iaUyotfensivc
• It'$ abo importam ro refer to adult women .. "wmuen" rath~r than "girls."
• lnstead.y<>u"""uld""" lhewurd "Asian,"or!heterm forpeuple from
•1p«ificcuun,ry,1ucli .. "Jap•nese" or"Korean.•

Watch Your Language ~·· •

To nwnmuni<ot<" )"''" Hkas dculy, it's no< only important «> 111<. <h< rig:h.t wcobuluy.
i1'>abo1mporruu MlroU«wordi diatmW>colf<ndyour~

Jnr«e<1<docado.1h;if><thnl>ro<1ght •l>oiitth<n«eNityol'poliria lly""""'


Wh<htefnring toth<,..riYCp<O!llc ofNorthArncrica,tJ..1<rm"IOOi>11" UrorWd.t.J

poli<dyincon<ctutdlusbtto ~wich ti.< mm "N.ciV<Amttian: Ar.dwh.M
rtlcningto«>Wttriadwdoo'tlu,·<a lotof rnor.<)''1<ind...,ry,th.c:•.,..... "tbdopi"g
oountry"Uprd'<rttd.:.- "thlid-....,.JJoounny."

For=mpk.propktrndr>0<ro u"'ch<«rm"hutdk1J>?«l p•""""" • nymotr.lna<.aol,

tlq W< <h< phr... "propk wi<hdisal>ilici<s: Wh<n trfetting to<kl<"Y po>pi<, Io's""""

poli«ro ..y "1«1io1."1lun "o1Jf'<"Pk-"

Ofcoune• ..,mt1lmciyoum.ayfindyourM'lfo;lki"g "''t'""Poli-t>'<who-=c'1
bod 1cttdby1hnt1C<rm1luou<G<>1!>id<r.Jp.,li1ic>llyincur""'·'OOyouyound( 1nigfc1
1>01find1hoo1C<m<offm<IY<.8uci1'11tillul<fulrob<»•"'' °''h<dilkttnc<>for1i.o...
<Im« wh.M your oud~ ;, 0<n>iri,,.. tu poli<i<>.lly incwr= 1erminology. _,
Discussion & Writing
l .lang1L>gtisronstandy,hanging.Ncwwords~alwa)'l'beingintrodu'ed,
and existing ""Ofd.i often start ~ing UKd in new ways. F01 example, young
pt0pleoflen UK words and expre~ions that ti.fir p,arimu don~ urwk1'$11nd
With a partner, make a list oftheK words and exprusions. You can include
enmpln fmm English or any other language that you know.

2.Writt a p,an.graph ahouttwoorthrttwords andexpressions that~ncw.

lnyourparagraph.explainwhatth=wordsand apttssion•meanand
~For~myft"Nndiand l eftentaf"""drorna·>hii~
opala9.-mfar~. 1t-·1tia1"1 C¥:" ar"i1'1nata,,m>fem. ·Mf
matflU'~lo "110W.,/t ~IOlto/d flu-. TllUl fhe ~IO~it

J.Reod )"OUrparagraphtotheclass

~~= .
condusion de.finitely