How to change habit of saying "she" for male or "he" for female in conversations



In my language, Indonesian, we don't use he or she. We only use one word, dia, but we know what we are talking about in the conversations. Now, in English language I have to use "He" or "She". But sometimes I called "she" to a male in a conversation or "he" to a female without realizing it.

I caught it sometimes and I changed it right away. I got embarrassed too sometimes. Now, How to change that habit? Help please!


Posted 2013-12-12T18:32:06.177

Reputation: 11

3Welcome to ELL! First of all, take it easy when you make mistakes, so you can keep practicing cheerfully. (Mistake is the best teacher.) This is nothing serious. Most people will understand. Now, if you want to overcome this habit, I'm afraid that, afaik, there is no shortcut. You just need to repeat it enough times, until you got it right. One good trick to help reducing that number of times is to avoid the translation (back to "dia" in your first language). Just try to map the word he/him/his to men, and she/her/hers to women directly. Good luck. – Damkerng T. – 2013-12-12T18:50:27.497

Songs are good for fixing meaning, pronunciation through sheer repetition. Think of She loves you (lots of girls faces in the beginning of the video too!) or She said, she said And a much better song IMO.

– Mari-Lou A – 2013-12-12T21:34:17.170

What DamkerngT said. When you speak, the choice of he or she will be largely automatic based on what you've practiced in the past. That means you've got to practice. – snailplane – 2013-12-12T21:59:02.970

2Would it be not PC to suggest that girls and S's have more curves? – Jim – 2013-12-13T03:45:27.077

(this is my hypothesis) I think this is rather a psychological slip, not a sign that you do not grammar or English. (In the sense of English as training, rather than usage). It happens to me too and I am quite proficient in English. It happens to others too, see here. Clearly, it is easy for someone to distinguish between a man and a woman and to associate a corresponding "he" vs "she".It might have to do with the fact that "he" and "she" sound almost similarly. And perhaps "he" takes less effort to pronounce than "she" since for the latter you have to move more the tongue. – Theta30 – 2013-12-15T04:42:18.023

When you are tired/distracted, you are more prone to mumble or take shortcuts in talking. In other situations, depending on the sentences you speak, "she" might be easier to pronounce than "he". So since it is psychological, I suggest you just have to use English more, i.e. just let it flow (this is an advice I don't usually give but in this case, I do). – Theta30 – 2013-12-15T04:42:53.277



Maybe if you remember female is a longer word than male, you can remember that female takes the longer pronoun she, and male takes the shorter pronoun he.


Posted 2013-12-12T18:32:06.177

Reputation: 1 621