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Re: Comment on introduction pages

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: Comment on introduction pages
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2010 17:18:08 -0600
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On 06/03/2010 08:01 AM, Christina Gratorp wrote:
> Hi!


You mailed the autoconf list, but complained about the automake manual.
 You may want to resend this to a more appropriate list if you want
anything to change, since this sentence does not appear in the autoconf

> I found a bug in the intro pages for automake:
> http://sources.redhat.com/automake/automake.html#Introduction. The sentence
> "The developer expresses the recipe to build *his* package in a Makefile"
> must be wrong since I'm a woman and a user and have packages I want to build
> and those packages are mine, i.e *hers* would be correct in this case.

Thanks for the report.  However, English is one of those silly languages
where the pronoun "his" can have a neuter sense rather than masculine,
and this is one of those cases.  Politically correct pundits are trying
to eradicate that usage, but personally, I'm still of the opinion that
"his" looks better than "his/hers", as long as you understand that the
usage is not locking down the gender of the antecedent.

> Suggestion: change the sentence to "The developer expresses the recipe to
> build *his/hers* package in a Makefile" or "The developer expresses the
> recipe to build *the* package in a Makefile"

Changing to "the" loses the notion of ownership; and as there is more
than one package with mention in the sentence (which package: the
developer's, or Automake?), I feel that losing the possessive pronoun
would be a step backwards.  And using "the developer's" feels redundant.

Eric Blake   address@hidden    +1-801-349-2682
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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