1. Sarita Noel
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    Sarita Noel Member

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    He or They

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Sarita Noel, Nov 8, 2012.

    Hello everyone,

    I need some help.

    Here is the example of writing that I am concerned with.

    Will you go with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) or a certified midwife (CNM)? Your decision can determine the outcome of your birth. An OB-GYN goes through 12 years of schooling and is a surgeon. They are simply not necessary at the majority of low-risk births.

    Should I change the "they" in the last sentence to a "he"? Or re-write the last two sentences like this -

    Your decision can determine the outcome of your birth. OB-GYNs go through 12 years of schooling and are surgeons. They are simply not necessary at the majority of low-risk births.

    The second sounds better to me, but the first doesn't necessary sound wrong, either. I've submitted this article to a website and it is currently under review. I can still yank it if this is definitely a mistake, because the article will be rejected if it is. If the first example is acceptable, then I will leave it as is.

    Thanks for you time!
    Sarita
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The second does sound better, but since OB-GYN is an abbreviation, I think you could get away with the first one.

    My concern is with the birth - you surely cannot affect the outcome of your birth. That's your birth, meaning you're the one who's being born, right? Or am I just really confused?

    Surely it should be "Your decision will affect the outcome of your delivery"?

    Edit: I think I might be talking rubbish, since the Oxford Dictionary says "birth" as a noun is the emergence of a baby. So maybe you're not wrong. Lol.
     
  3. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    in answer to your "they" or "he" question use "they" as you are talking about a profession and there is more than one person in that profession
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    change 'OB-GYN' and all that follows to the plural and you'll have no problem... that's really what you mean, anyway, since you are not referring to a single doctor...

    i agree that your wording is poor, since what you've said is that the mother's own birth is being referred to... need to change 'birth' to 'giving birth' or anything else that makes it clear what you mean...

    also, not all OB-GYNs are surgeons... at least, not in the US... may be different in the UK and elsewhere...

    if i were you i'd yank the submission, make sure it's as good and accurate as it can be, before resubmitting...
     
  5. Sarita Noel
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    Sarita Noel Member

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    Thank you everyone for your input! Mammamaia, you've give me some food for thought. I'll go ahead and do some more research, especially on the ob-gyns not all being surgeons. The article is still under review so I can still yank it if I need to. Thanks again!

    Sarita
     
  6. jack.m
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    jack.m New Member

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    Ya, I didn't really know if you were concerned about sexism in this example. Since sexism in writing is becoming a taboo in this day and age, many people stick to making the noun plural and then making the pronoun (They) plural as well, so that they don't have to use the more sexist pronoun "He" to refer to something that may also have women in the group. So in this example, to reduce sexism, you would make the noun plural, as in 'OB-GYNs," with the "s," and keep the they. Even in your first example the number agreement is off, as you start off reffering to OB-GYNs in the singular and then in the next sentence use a plural pronoun. But that's getting a little nit-picky.
     

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