Writing -- Use Gender Neutral English and Write With All Your 5-Senses Engaged

Ugur Akinci
 


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Whenever possible, use gender-neutral words and expressions to prevent offending any of your readers.

For example, instead of “Chairman, " you can try “Chair, " “Moderator, " or “Facilitator. "

But if the the gender of the “Chair" is obvious from the context, then you can use “Chairman" or “Chairwoman" as appropriate.

Here are some other suggestions (inspired by Microsoft Style Guide):

OLD USAGE: Man. Mankind.

TRY: Humanity. People. Humankind.

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OLD USAGE: “He mans the boat. "

TRY: “He operates the boat. "

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OLD USAGE: “The candidate was manhandled on the campaign trail. "

TRY: “The candidate was roughed up on the campaign trail. "

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OLD USAGE: Salesman.

TRY: Sales Representative. Sales Person.

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OLD USAGE: Man-made.

TRY: Synthetic. Manufactured.

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OLD USAGE: Manpower.

TRY: Workforce. Staff. Personnel.

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OLD USAGE: Man-hour.

TRY: Labor-hour.

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OLD USAGE: . . . to a man

TRY:. . . without exception

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OLD USAGE: Manhunt.

TRY: Hunt for the fugitive.

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Write with Your Five Senses Engaged to Increase Web Site Traffic

You decide which Caribbean Tours Catalog copy is better:

Copy A:

"It was a fine day at the Marimba Hotel's beach and it felt good to be alive. I said to my self, “you're one lucky dog, buster!" “

Copy B:

"I felt how much the cover of the thriller I was reading has absorbed the warmth of the Caribbean sun as I slowly lowered it on my naked chest and turned my head from the hammock to have a good look at the tropical whistler going crazy at the top of the swaying double-coconut palm. I closed my eyes to surrender to the lullaby of. . . wave after lazy wave of turquoise waters spreading their foamy lace along the ten-mile golden beach strip. I was jolted out of my reverie with the invigorating aroma of fresh pineapple pancakes and strong Cuban coffee prepared by the Marimba Hotel's five-star executive kitchen. "

Writer and creative writing teacher Nathalie Goldberg has written a couple of fantastic books describing in detail how you can engage your senses when writing copy. I find her books (for example, Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life) very motivating and inspirational in “writing wide awake” techniques.

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Ugur Akinci, Ph. D. is a writer with 20 years of experience. He is available for a wide variety of freelance assignments. Visit his web site http://www.writer111.com for more information on his services.

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