Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Chairwoman," "Chairlady" or "Chairperson."

Level of Distractibility: Who cares? = *. Some people will be distracted from your meaning: = **. Many people will be distracted from your meaning: = ***.

Question: When the leader of a group is not a chairman, but a woman, what do you call her?

Answer: Well, according to the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, you should use "Chairwoman," but not "Chairlady" or "Chairperson."

Comment: Frankly, all of the choices sound awkward. When in doubt try to write around it, but if you can't, you have the authority of the New York Times for "Chairwoman." I have even resorted to "the Chair." But I try to write around it if I can. In my professional English education journals, I almost always see "Chairperson." RayS.

Rating of Distractibility: (*) No easy answer for this one. They all sound awkward.

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