Learning scenarios and pronoun use

Feb 16, 2021

Hi everyone. I have been reworking a lot of training materials to be more sensitive to gender and replace "he or she" with they when the chosen pronouns of the person being referred to are unknown. 

Question: When you write scenarios using third person, do you use he and she or do you use the singular they? Or do you have characters in a course that are sometimes he, sometimes she, sometimes they?  Thoughts?

2 Replies
Sally Wiedenbeck

If it's an undeveloped character with an unknown gender, I would use singular they (A software engineer... they then ...). If it's more detailed characters with names and backgrounds, I use a mix of he/she/singular they, just as I try to mix up other identities of my characters (age, race, ability, etc).

Christy Tucker

Most of the time, I create specific characters with names and genders. That's based on the Chip and Dan Heath's book Made to Stick, which talks about how concrete details make stories easier to remember.

However, if I was reworking old materials without actually creating new, named characters, I'd do what Sally suggested and use the singular they.