In a message to another FBI lawyer about whether he planned to remain at the DoJ after Donald Trump took office, Kevin Clinesmith, who is copping a plea in the Russian Collusion Hoax case, replied, “Viva le resistance.”

Of course, the French noun la resistance is feminine, so using the masculine article le misgenders it.

Qui se croit sage est un grand fou.

—French Proverb

Pronoun Menu

Hogewash! is an English language blog, and I strive to use proper grammar. To that end, the following pronouns are used to refer to individual persons on this blog:

Masculine form: he/him/his
Feminine form: she/her/hers

Single individuals should not use the plural form (they/them/their) or imaginary forms (e.g., xe/xer/xir) unless they suffer from borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, or a related mental illness.

N.B.: The English language pronouns for a person who sex is unknown are identical to the masculine. Someone speaking about himself or herself may use one/one/one’s in formal communications. The only other gender in English is neuter, and I believe it is disrespectful to refer to a human being as it.

Sex, Grammar, and Microagression

The recent brouhaha over Bruce Jenner has led me to want to explain the use of English language pronouns on this blog—

Feminine pronouns (she/her/hers) are used for human beings lacking Y-chromosomes, other female biological entities, and for certain inanimate objects such as ships.

Masculine pronouns (he/him/his) are used for human beings possessing Y-chromosomes and other male biological entities.

Indefinite pronouns (he/him/his) are used for human beings whose possession of Y-chromosomes is unknown and may be used for other biological entities. One/one/one’s may be used for any human being regardless of Y-choromosome status when the subjunctive mood is used.

Neuter pronouns (it/it/its) are used for inanimate objects and may be used for non-human biological entities.

The plural pronouns (they/them/their) should only be used for groups of person or things.

These rules are not microagression. They’re science-based, clear-thinking, real-world grammar punching back twice as hard.

Proper Grammar and Punctuation

I agree with Stacy McCain in the importance of proper grammar and punctuation. In a short piece posted today he writes:

There’s probably no connection. On the other hand, maybe my insistence on proper spelling, punctuation and grammar — even in such informal contexts as Twitter and text-messaging — is evidence of a traditionalist predisposition.

Bravo! But I would make one change. My tradition-bound punctuation propensity would have included the so-called Harvard comma in

… proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar …