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Some of you are already aware that English is a ‘man’s’ language because it contains thousands of words that prefer men.

We like men; we also believe it’s time for the world’s most commonly used language to have some words for those of us who aren’t men, and we’ve come up with a simple way to do that.
We hope you’ll join us on our amazing journey to make English inclusive.



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Updated: Jan 4, 2023

In Blog #3, we discovered that ‘The’ is our most common English word. Once I realized it, I tried to write without using it as a word. IMPOSSIBLE! Look a page of any book and see how often we rely on it.

In the book ‘ The Bestseller Code’, it’s recommended that T-H-E be used as little as possible if writing fiction. In fact, Steven King is touted as the most successful non-user with T-H-E comprising only 10% of his words! Amazing!

THE is considered a dead word; suggesting that its use makes reading boring. I learned a lot from trying not to use it, although I found it impossible not to use at all, but I reduced how often I used it, until I stumbled across an amazing way to deal with it differently. Curious? Read on!


‘THE’ is an article in English—a specific one, meaning if we say ‘The Chicken’ we are referring to a specific one.

‘THE’ is also is a masculine word because of ‘he’ in its spelling. WEnglish for WEquality (WFW) therefore labels it as a ‘man’ word.


English has another article, which is spelled ‘A’ as in ‘A chicken’ or ‘AN’ as in ‘An egg’. It refers to non-specific items. In our example, any egg will do because we aren’t specifying which one. Got it?

How do English speakers know whether to use A or An?

It’s so easy we don’t even think about it. Here’s how it works:

If the next word begins with a consonant, we use A (as in A Chicken);

If the next word begins with a vowel, we use AN (as in AN Egg). Try it for yourself and see how consistent English is with this rule.


WEnglish for WEquality (WFW) applies our English ‘A/An’ rule to THE and spells it ‘T-H-A’ or ‘T-H-E’ as in ‘Tha chicken’ or ‘The egg’. Why ‘T-H-A’? Because that’s how we say it if the next word begins with a consonant. Try it hear and listen to how it sounds.

Tha dog. The apple.

You can hear tha difference!

All WFW is doing is following our English rule and taking hundreds of ‘MAN’ words out of English by spelling THA like we say it. So easy and even fun’ isn’t it? Saying those words out loud will prove to you that we say THA consistently when THA the next starts with a consonant. And since there are far more consonants than vowels in English, wouldn’t it be a good idea to use tha same A/AN rule with THE/THA? (By tha way, English dictionaries show a THE pronunciation first; in italics they show THA as an inverted ‘e’, like this: thƏ. Why not do it as linguistically correct?

Think about it. If ‘THE’ is our most common word, and if we choose to change how we spell it, we bring balance into English. How?

We are removing HE from our most common word whenever it’s followed by a consonant. That makes a big difference! Very simply, it removes a lot of HE words from English.

WEnglish wants to tip tha scales so that there are less ‘HE’ words in English. Adding THA as a word is a powerful change—tha biggest one we can think of.

There’s so much more we can do to balance English to make it inclusive.

Join us next time - we uncover two more key ‘man’ words that dishonor those of us who aren’t men*--and provide simple fixes again.

What if there’s a bedrock layer underneath English that denies women equality? What if it’s contained in our very words? Think about it.

*WEnglish defines ‘men’ as those who are male by birth, body parts, or choice. In other words, if you want to be a man, be a man. But pay attention to what ‘man words’ do to discredit those of us who aren’t.

To an inclusive English!

Vivian Probst


If we could choose only ONE word to bring English into balance between our two primary sexes, what would it be? If you knew what it was, would you be interested? I hope so! WElcome to WEnglish for WEquality, Lesson One.

You might think that as a linguist, I’d have discovered this ONE WORD long ago.( If you consider August of 2008 a long time ago, that concept works.But our English language has been in use for hundreds of years, so my ‘aha' is quite recent–only fourteen years as of this writing). Be sure to check your search engine if you want to get more specific about how old English is, and expect to see a variety of opinions.

That ONE WORD insight changed everything for me. It began as I noticed ‘He’ on our Periodic Table of Elements. ‘He’ in that context is how ‘helium’ is abbreviated. Helium: defined as a ‘noble gas’ might cause some humorous responses, but that’s not what caught my eye at first;

it was ‘He’, a decidedly masculine word (intentional or otherwise).

As I studied ‘he’ words more closely, I discovered, quite by accident, that ‘THE’ is the most common word in English. If we put ‘T-H-E’ through our WEnglish Word Collider (more about that in a later blog), it’s easy to see that it’s a masculine word because it has ‘HE’ in it, as do thousands of other English words. Some language enthusiasts suggest that how we spell words has a subliminal influence that we’re not even aware of.

In her book, ‘Unspinning the Spin, renowned linguist Rosalie Maggio calls ‘he’ a pseudogeneric word. Donald G. McKay (in Cheris Kramarae, ed., The Voices and Words of Women and Men) says that each of us hears the pseudogeneric he over a million times in our lifetimes and the consequences of this kind of repetition are “beyond the ken of present day psychology.”

In other words, as we read English, words containing ‘HE’ are seen so often that we subconsciously can’t HElp but think of men. Consider that even our words ‘sHE’ and ‘HEr’ contain ‘he’ as do thousands of other English words. T-H-E set me off on a journey that hasn’t ended. Once you feel ‘THE’ impact, it’s hard to ignore.

WEnglish for WEquality(™) has a fix for T-H-E that makes it a neutral word. Once we show you, (which is our next blog) you’ll see how easily WE can open our language doors to include all of us. Meanwhile, take a look at anything you’re reading and identify all words containing ‘he’ to observe how pervasive these are. Don’t despair! Next time:


Yours for an inclusive English,


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