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Grammar
Writing and Composition

What are some simple ways a person can write in a more politically correct fashion?

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March 26, 2014 1:15AM

There are a number of things you can do to write in a more politically correct manner.

1. Use the word "who" instead of "that" when referring to a person.

Example: "Tina is the type of person who likes math and science."

2. Use terms relating to medical conditions, gender identity, ethnicity, and sexual orientation as adjectives, not as names or other nouns. For instance, someone is a transsexual person rather than "a transsexual." Or you can call them a person with whatever condition, and that reinforces first that they are a person and that their life doesn't revolve around whatever condition, trait, or quality.

3. Avoid the trap of working too hard to be politically correct. For instance, politicians may consider "hearing impaired" to be a better label than simply "deaf," when the term "hearing impaired" is considered offensive by both deaf and hard of hearing folks. Likewise, so many assume "transgender" is a euphemism for "transsexual," when the two terms differ quite a bit in meaning. It is safest to use just the terms a person with whatever condition uses, even if the term makes you cringe, than to try to use a euphemism and offend the person.

4. Avoid the word "oriental" unless you are referring to food or other nonhuman objects. When referring to people, use "Asian" or their exact nationality instead.

5. Avoid slurs regardless of the group, even if it is a political party, or even if the other person is bigoted or hateful.

6. When referring to transsexual persons, "shemale," "he-she," and "tranny" are never appropriate. If you must use pronouns, use the ones that correspond to the person's identity and presentation. If someone is in a dress and wearing makeup, then treat them as any other woman unless they make it clear not to do so.