Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. -Ted Theodore Logan
Question #92831 posted on 12/22/2019 8:18 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What pronoun do most prescriptive grammar texts say to use when referring to an animal when the word for the animal denotes its sex? e.g., "The cow licked its lip." or "The cow licked her lip."?



Dear person,

From an interesting and academically minded discussion, Jewish Veganism and Vegetarianism: Studies and New Directions:

"In prescriptive English, animals are referred to with the genderless it that is also often used to describe objects; in Hebrew, animals are described with [he/she] exactly as humans are, and not with the genderless [it] reserved for things."

Pretty neat.


--Ardilla Feroz, who got hit in the face by a bat a couple days ago and hopes magnanimously that it didn't give him rabies, though this would be a pretty on-brand way to expire

posted on 12/25/2019 4:30 p.m.
[url =,+animals+are+referred+to+with+the+genderless+it+that+is+also+often+used+to+describe+objects;+in+Hebrew,+animals+are+described+with+%5Bhe/she%5D+exactly+as+humans+are,+and+not+with+the+genderless+%5Bit%5D+reserved+for+things.&source=bl&ots=9HQfOH4uo9&sig=ACfU3U26sMg7K-tkv17IKAjG8G2nR-GyJA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiP7oypx8zmAhXVN30KHa8RAcsQ6AEwAHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=In%20prescriptive%20English%2C%20animals%20are%20referred%20to%20with%20the%20genderless%20it%20that%20is%20also%20often%20used%20to%20describe%20objects%3B%20in%20Hebrew%2C%20animals%20are%20described%20with%20%5Bhe%2Fshe%5D%20exactly%20as%20humans%20are%2C%20and%20not%20with%20the%20genderless%20%5Bit%5D%20reserved%20for%20things.&f=false]Here is a link to the book[/url]; you'll find the quote on pg. 138.