Sunday, March 8, 2009

For the final time: Woman is not an adjective!

The online version has been corrected, but out on the streets today, there it was in large bold type on the front page of the Toronto Star: Ontario NDP elects first woman leader.

Why would the NDP elect someone to lead women?

Written as such, the headline in question means they elected a leader of women. hile the headline is grammatically incorrect, most people would understand the writer means first female leader. But that doesn't forgive those who insist on using the word woman as an adjective.

For some reason, people who would never dream of using man as an adjective, forget that woman is a noun and write things like "woman doctor" or "woman lawyer."

A woman doctor, for the record, is a gynecologist.

1 comment:

  1. This misuse may come from the French language, as it is a Canadian newspaper. We often use "femme" (woman)for words that do not have any feminine form. For instance : une femme médecin, as you wrote, a "woman doctor". Actually in our language, we combine two nouns. But this does not work in English !

    Hélène, from France