Another Handful of Tips 10 – Sexist Writing


Another Handful of Tips 10          –   Sexist Writing

The five best tips to remove sexist writing

If you want to be accepted by a wider audience avoid the use of sexist words. In subjects that apply to both men and women be careful to use non-sexist language.

1. Avoid using ‘man’ as a verb

Instead of ‘To man the exhibit’ say ‘To staff the exhibit’.
Instead of ‘To man the ships’ say ‘To crew the ships’.

2. Look for alternative nouns

Instead of ‘manpower’, ‘mankind’, ‘businessman’ use words like ‘personnel’, ‘people’, ‘executive’ and so on.

3. Rewrite in the plural

Replace ‘his or her’ with ‘their’ when you use the plural noun. For example, instead of ‘Each applicant must bring his birth certificate’ say ‘Applicants must bring their birth certificates’.

4. Address the reader directly in the second person

Instead of saying ‘Each stall holder is responsible for cleaning his own area’, say ‘You are responsible for cleaning your own area’.

5. Replace the third person singular possessives with an article such as ‘an’.

For example, ‘Each committee member expressed his opinion,’ say ‘Each committee member expressed an opinion’.

Beware of sexist language. Avoid references that could alienate half your group, or your readers will doubt your credibility.

-Geoffrey Moss

“It’s impossible to please everyone.
At times, a little consideration is a sound investment.”

SOURCE:  “Persuasive Ways” published by Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand and in Chinese by Shanghai People’s Publishing House and as “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia. Also available as an e-book from

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