Gender pronouns for symbionts

David Honig honig at binky.ICS.UCI.EDU
Thu Jul 14 12:29:19 EST 1994

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To: at
Subject: Gender pronouns for symbionts
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 10:30:10 -0700
From: David Honig <honig at>

I was referring to a bit of lichen that I have been showing the
world from the dashboard of my car.  I was going to use "he",
since I wasn't sure of its gender, and then I realized that
English has no pronoun rules when referring to necessarily-symbiotic
organisms.  (Never mind that the algae is probably only sexual
occasionally and that the fungus is probably hermephroditic.)

So with access to all these spare brain-cycles on the net, I figured
I'd ask.


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