1. Rennie1989
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    Rennie1989 Member

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    Grammar Third-person narrative nouns

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Rennie1989, Apr 5, 2015.

    I am almost at the finishing line with my novel and I am just polishing off a few details, and this is one of the details which I have left until last.

    There are some scenes in my novel where there are groups (big and small) of young adults. Now, if they were adults I wouldn't have a hard time using man and woman, and girl and boy for children and teenagers, but for young adults.... I'm stuck.

    I find calling an 18-20 year old in my novel a woman as it makes them seem much older than they actually are- some don't behave like an adult anyway. My husband said that, to him, calling them girls rather than women sounded better, but then I had the issue of calling the young men boys, which, to me, makes them sound far younger than they really are.

    So, going from man/woman to boy/girl I then decided to try young man/young woman, but the extra words took the flow away, it got repetitive. I even thought about girl/guy but 'guy' sounded too informal.

    What are your suggestions?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't help feeling that you're giving male characters more respect than female--you're OK with girl but boy sounds too young, you're OK with girl but guy sounds too informal, you mention your concern about calling young adults women, but you don't seem concerned about calling them men.

    That's not the primary point of your question, but some readers might also have similar concerns.

    Can you just use names, or are you talking about collective nouns or characters that haven't yet been named?

    A couple of examples for context would be good.

    But just to make things up:

    The bus station was packed with people, mostly young men and women laden with back-from-college gear.

    The corner both was packed with young men and women, laughing and now and then shouting at the football game over the bar.

    A tap on my shoulder. I looked around to see a young woman.
     
  3. Rennie1989
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    Rennie1989 Member

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    Thank you for your reply.

    It is nothing to do with my preference over male and females, it's just what those particular words mean to me. What I'm trying to say is that, for young adults (18-20) girl and boy sounds too childlike whereas woman and man sounds too mature for that particular age group. If I can't find a better substitute I'll revert back to woman and man.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd go with young women and young men.

    I agree with ChickenFreak that there needs to be consistency between the sexes - if you call the females 'girls', then the same-age males should be 'boys'.
     

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