His/Her

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mbutterfly
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His/Her

Postby mbutterfly » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:02 pm

When referring to an ambiguous pronouns, why do law statements always use 'her' instead of he,him, their, etc?

I.e. "The victim could argue her..." or "defendant need not herself actually contact the victim."

Just curious! Thanks

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dood
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Re: His/Her

Postby dood » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:06 pm

...
Last edited by dood on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

yeff
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Re: His/Her

Postby yeff » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:33 pm

When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: His/Her

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:42 pm

yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html

Your LRW prof must hate you. Your journal's ed. board would hate you to.

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philosoraptor
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Re: His/Her

Postby philosoraptor » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:54 pm

yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html
A thousand times no. Idiots who use singular "they" apparently lack the capacity to understand the difference between grammatical gender and anatomy. It adds instead of removes confusion in the language. If you use it, educated people assume you're a buffoon, and rightly so.

Your NYT article lists famous authors who might have used it; they, however, wrote literature, not law-related things, where clarity is (or should be) paramount.

reverendt
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Re: His/Her

Postby reverendt » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:58 pm

I always find "her" kind of amusing in criminal texts, considering that something like 90% of criminal defendants are male.
It smacks of the publishers trying too hard to be P.C.

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zanda
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Re: His/Her

Postby zanda » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:59 pm

yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html

Except that it ruins the whole sentence because when people use the "singular" "they", they use the plural verb. Singular noun, ambiguous pronoun, plural verb. Ewwwwww.

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ggocat
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Re: His/Her

Postby ggocat » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:11 pm

Pronouns are for chumps. ggocat does not use pronouns.

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Pizon
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Re: His/Her

Postby Pizon » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:39 pm

After reading the generic attorney being referred to as "she" for what seemed like the thousandth time, I began to develop an inferiority complex.

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TobiasFunke
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Re: His/Her

Postby TobiasFunke » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:45 am

.
Last edited by TobiasFunke on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Black-Blue
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Re: His/Her

Postby Black-Blue » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:47 am

"Her" is preferred because it's more easily pronounced than "his", at least in terms of mouth movement.

yeff
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Re: His/Her

Postby yeff » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:59 am

He? she? xe? he/she? These are really better?

First, this problem can often be easily written around. From OP's example: "defendant need not personally actually contact the victim."

For the other example, I really don't understand the disgust with "The victim could argue their..."

Moreover, if "they" it proves unsuitable for legal use due to imprecision (hasn't yet, but I'm just a 1L), there's no good reason it can't be used in common speech.

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reasonable_man
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Re: His/Her

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:51 am

yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html



Yes. Use this. But not if you intend to be an attorney. "They" in legal writing? Really? For real? Seriously? And you're so sure about it too!

Anyway. If I'm writing to a female judge, i use her. Otherwise, I typically default to he/his, when it becomes necessary to assign a gender.

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Pizon
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Re: His/Her

Postby Pizon » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:43 am

You can usually just avoid the issue by making it plural, since you weren't talking about anyone specific in the first place.

"The attorney must file her papers." --> "Attorneys must file their papers."

Bumi
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Re: His/Her

Postby Bumi » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:52 am

Pizon wrote:After reading the generic attorney being referred to as "she" for what seemed like the thousandth time, I began to develop an inferiority complex.


Exactly. That's how it felt to women when everyone used "he."

It's interesting to me that people care about this so much.

LjakW
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Re: His/Her

Postby LjakW » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:10 am

In the preface to his Torts book, Professor Epstein writes that where there is no specific gender necessary, he uses she/her for plaintiffs and he/him for defendants.

reverendt
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Re: His/Her

Postby reverendt » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:27 pm

Bumi wrote:
Pizon wrote:After reading the generic attorney being referred to as "she" for what seemed like the thousandth time, I began to develop an inferiority complex.


Exactly. That's how it felt to women when everyone used "he."

It's interesting to me that people care about this so much.


Ahhh...but men were in the legal profession first.
If women wanted the right to use THEIR pronoun, THEY should have invented the profession! :D

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rdcws000
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Re: His/Her

Postby rdcws000 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:12 pm

LjakW wrote:In the preface to his Torts book, Professor Epstein writes that where there is no specific gender necessary, he uses she/her for plaintiffs and he/him for defendants.


That seems awkwardly sexist.

I use she/her in formal writing, not to be PC or anything, just to stay consistent. Using the fence stradding "he or she" and "his or her" is burdensome. "They" is totally off limits.

Renzo
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Re: His/Her

Postby Renzo » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:16 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html



Yes. Use this. But not if you intend to be an attorney. "They" in legal writing? Really? For real? Seriously? And you're so sure about it too!

Anyway. If I'm writing to a female judge, i use her. Otherwise, I typically default to he/his, when it becomes necessary to assign a gender.

I am a Grand Wizard of the singular "they" conspiracy. But we need to know our limits. Until it's a majority rule of usage, it has no place in legal writing.

Connelly
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Re: His/Her

Postby Connelly » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:18 pm

Piss everybody off with hir.

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Adjudicator
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Re: His/Her

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:24 pm

Singular "they" is terrible, no person should ever use it, especially not if they are (or want to be) a lawyer.

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rdcws000
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Re: His/Her

Postby rdcws000 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:38 pm

Adjudicator wrote:Singular "they" is terrible, no person should ever use it, especially not if that person is theyare (or wants to be) a lawyer.


Alternative.

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bk1
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Re: His/Her

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:45 pm

rdcws000 wrote:
Adjudicator wrote:Singular "they" is terrible, no person should ever use it, especially not if that person is theyare (or wants to be) a lawyer.


Alternative.


*Whoosh*

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rdcws000
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Re: His/Her

Postby rdcws000 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:47 pm

bk1 wrote:
rdcws000 wrote:
Adjudicator wrote:Singular "they" is terrible, no person should ever use it, especially not if that person is theyare (or wants to be) a lawyer.


Alternative.


*Whoosh*


I got it...

I just felt like what it was missing was an alternative to her, his, his or her, or they, so I included it.

yeff
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Re: His/Her

Postby yeff » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:49 pm

Renzo wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
yeff wrote:When a person hasn't yet hopped on the singular 'they' train, they have to choose between using a gendered word as a gender-neutral word or using an awkward his/her construction.

Singular they, people. Use it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/26/magazine/26FOB-onlanguage-t.html



Yes. Use this. But not if you intend to be an attorney. "They" in legal writing? Really? For real? Seriously? And you're so sure about it too!

Anyway. If I'm writing to a female judge, i use her. Otherwise, I typically default to he/his, when it becomes necessary to assign a gender.

I am a Grand Wizard of the singular "they" conspiracy. But we need to know our limits. Until it's a majority rule of usage, it has no place in legal writing.


Fair enough. Though Grand Wizard sounds a little klan-ish.

How else to return it to majority usage if not strident advocacy? And if your career suffers for your use of it, well, that just serves as further proof of your dedication to the cause!




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