Could somebody please explain to me how is Between '(s)he' & 'he/she' -- which is recommended/ preferable? opinion-based.

The question explicitly contains

Are both "(s)he" and "he/she" correct?

so how can it be opinion-based?

2 Answers 2


We have lots of answers like "There's no single correct way, it's a matter of style. Here's what some style guides say."

Should we close all those as primarily opinion-based?

This is a site on English usage, and we can point out some guidelines on standard English usage, and how some popular/well-known sources do it.

I've voted to re-open.

  • I agree, but not strongly enough to act unilaterally. If these kinds of questions aren't wanted here, they may find a happy home on Writers.SE.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 19:29
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    Neither of these is part of English; both options are about typography, and have nothing to do with spoken English. When was the last time you said one of these? Or heard someone else say them? All punctuation is opinion-based. Commented May 26, 2023 at 14:18

As stated in the various comments, this is not a matter of standard English or of any particular dialect or variant. It's a matter of authorial style. There are many options which could be used to write in a gender-neutral way, none of which is more or less right than any other and none of which has any broad consensus.

Except using singular "they". That's always right, no matter what you hear elsewhere.

  • 3
    Which means that the question has an objective answer: "It's a matter of authorial style." and that both are correct. How did opinion come into play then? Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 20:18
  • Well, neither is correct. Or both are. Or one is. It's not something established by a reference or standard but by the opinion of whoever reads it. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:34
  • 2
    Now say OP doesn't know all that, and come up and asks that question not knowing if it depends on the reader. That last comment of your could have been an objective answer to his/her question. It's not like, suggestions and advices were seeked. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:39
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    I'm not following your logic, Mr S. I also don't see how this is opinion based. The question is answerable. It may be controversial but it is still answerable, "Is X or Y right?"
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:44
  • @Mitch; This is almost the definition of POB. A question "Is the Oxford comma right or wrong?" would bring impressive citations from various stylebooks, and might even elicit some new light on the subject; but it could not find the right answer, because there is none. Therefore it does not fit on a SE site, and would be closed. Similarly with this question. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 21:52
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    @TimLymington: But that's an objective answer "those words are variants that depend on style choice." Also, one can say that they are used in a given register or in different situations (if there is something about that that can be said). "The Oxford comma is more common in the US and less in the UK" or something like that.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:07
  • @Mitch: No, it is not an objective answer (or not provably so, which comes to the same thing). And I agree (since I said so) that there are interesting and helpful things that could be said about each of the questions - on another site. Unless there is (theoretically) an answer that is either provable or generally agreed, the question does not fit on SE, and will be closed. Which is the answer to this meta question. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:28
  • Also, I am deeply impressed by Mr. Shiny and New's last paragraph. Since I do not know whether this poster is male or female, I thank them for pointing this out. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:31
  • @TimLymington That's so opinion based!
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:32

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