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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > The Baby: it/ he/ she    

The Baby: it/ he/ she


The Baby: it/ he/ she
Which pronoun would you use to refer to the word "baby" in general speech as the sex is not mentioned?
          a. He or she
          b. It

15 Feb 2010      


Terrible as it may seem native speakers do refer to a baby before it is born as "it".
Even after it is born it may be referred to as "it" until the sex is known whereupon it would then be inappropriate.
Similarly we use "them" or "their" to refer to singular persons when we don �t know the gender.
eg Each person must get their coat.
Although some people will say:
Each person must get his or her coat.
In academic essays it is possible to write "s/he" to mean "he or she"
Hope this helps
Cheers Joy

15 Feb 2010     


Depends on how emotionally connected you are to the baby. If yes, then "he or she", of not, then "it". Although, I feel we now have a tendency to rather not refer to a baby as "it"...

15 Feb 2010     

United States


15 Feb 2010     


I have recently had a number of pregnant friends and Lana is correct - we tend not to refer to a baby as it. We find ways around it. We say �your little bundle of joy � �your/her baby/offspring � or �the little one �. One friend even referred to her baby as �the bump � for nine months! The only pronoun we used was the third person plural �they/them �.

15 Feb 2010     


I �ve watched a couple of episodes of Friends lately, and they �re refering to a baby using IT when they don �t know the sex, but as soon as they know the sex, they use HE or SHE, or THEY if it �s twins!

15 Feb 2010     

United States

It is for things - he or she is for people. (and beloved pets)

15 Feb 2010     

United States

And when the sex is not known?   -- it!
Honestly, I tend to not use the pronoun in these cases--I keep using "the baby"
An interesting bit on "it" from Wikipedia refering to how the use of "it" is changing:

16 Feb 2010     

United Kingdom

I had a baby 5 months ago and before we found out that he was a boy we always said the baby or it.  The other mums in my baby group were the same. 

16 Feb 2010