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IT is a bottle of milk, not he!!!

(26 Posts)
Scottishtanguera Fri 26-Apr-13 15:12:15

Please, fellow pedants, come and tell me if this annoys you too.

I live in the West Country and often have to bite my tongue at this weird habit people have of applying a gender - usually male- to inanimate objects.

Many a conversation have I had with plumbers/builders/electricians/car mechanics who refer to their all manner of household or everyday items that they are in the business of repairing,etc that include the following type of comment:
" he's a good 'un" (my new boiler)
"He'll need replacing soon" (some part of my car")
"Ah, it's him that's the problem" (some pipe beneath my floorboards)

You get the picture.

Today when one of my bottles of milk in my weekly shop was leaking and the delivery driver kept saying"I think it's him that's leaking, I'll give you a refund for him, yeah he's the one with the hole",etc,etc I nearly exploded with the effort of not yelling " it's a bottle of milk!! MILK, not a person, an IT!"
IT is leaking, IT, you mentalist!!"angry
Why, just why?!

chocoluvva Fri 26-Apr-13 15:17:12

Don't cry over spilt milk Scottishtanguera! He's not worth it.

Sorry. Not helpful.


duchesse Fri 26-Apr-13 15:25:39

Proper Devoners give genders to all objects. Are you in Devon?

duchesse Fri 26-Apr-13 15:27:07

You should know that is an accepted (and I think, charming) of the Devon way of speaking. I will be very sad when it's disappeared- as it surely will with the influence of the telly.

Scottishtanguera Fri 26-Apr-13 15:46:18

grin at choccoluvva

FlowersBlown Fri 26-Apr-13 15:57:20

It's not annoying to me. Why do you want everyone to speak in the same way? These little quirks and differences make life more interesting surely.

Scottishtanguera Fri 26-Apr-13 16:02:21

Yes, there are quirks,etc but this is pedants' corner and its grammatically incorrect.

KatoPotato Fri 26-Apr-13 16:07:13

It's known as 'Anthropomorphism' I do it all the time...

tallulah Fri 26-Apr-13 16:14:26

This upset my DH when we moved from the SE to the SW. He was convinced his colleague was talking about a person and came home in hysterics that it was actually a ladder. grin

FlowersBlown Fri 26-Apr-13 16:38:09

It's only incorrect according to you. It sounds fine to me. I think you should stop being a pedant and embrace the difference. They gender everything in France, don't they? Just think about that and maybe it won't sound wrong anymore.

CiderwithBuda Fri 26-Apr-13 16:46:41

I knew you would be in the south west! I've only lived here 18 months and have to say it took me a bit of time to get used to. I think it's quite quirky in a nice way.

Jux Fri 26-Apr-13 16:49:43

I'm not Devonian, though I live there now. However, I grew up in e suburbs of London, and while I referred to objects as it when in school and formal situations and in writing, I did sometimes (and still do) anthropomorphise. Maybe because my family are half French and everything has a gender in that language, or maybe just for fun.

It does happen a bit among Devonians, but not all that much, ime.

ThreeBeeOneGee Fri 26-Apr-13 16:52:11

English nouns used to have genders. These people are just a bit behind the times.

Scottishtanguera Fri 26-Apr-13 18:14:36

According to the definition of anthropomorphise(I had to look it upblush), it sounds more like personification of things which I don't have an issue with as the thing being personified would still be referred to as an "it".
Anyway,that said, if in fact it is actually grammatically correct then as weird as it may sound it will help me be more tolerant - still sounds bonkers to me but if it's not actually wrong then my inner pedant will at least be silenced so thank you for putting ne straight, wise mumsnetters. smile

Jux Fri 26-Apr-13 18:43:09

It does mean something like attributing cleverness to cats, and the cats could still be referred to as it; but you can anthropomorphise geometric shapes by giving them entire human personalities, including a gender, if you wanted to. Personification is more specific.

merrymouse Fri 26-Apr-13 18:48:03

I think it's lovely that regional variations still exist. (I'm from southeast).

WMittens Fri 26-Apr-13 19:57:50


...but this is pedants' corner and its grammatically incorrect.


Scottishtanguera Sat 27-Apr-13 12:48:54

Argh! Stupid iPad! blush

ItsYonliMe Sun 28-Apr-13 15:49:59

I quite like it, sounds as if people have time to have a friendly chat instead of being too business like. The delivery man sounds lovely smile

duchesse Mon 29-Apr-13 17:14:14

Ran into neighbour earlier who should have come to do earth shifting for us some months ago.

"I would 'ave come", he said, "only the mini-digger's broken an hydraulic pipe in his left caterpillar. We're waiting for a part for 'im from America".

I love it.

MirandaGoshawk Thu 09-May-13 21:40:32

I live in Devon and I love it when they say that! Best example I overheard was of a builder jumping into another builder's digger. As he drove off, the owner shouted out "Don't ee SCRATCH 'er!"

Much more fun than "Don't you scratch it!"

MirandaGoshawk Thu 09-May-13 21:41:25

So diggers are female, apparently. grin

LegoAcupuncture Thu 09-May-13 21:43:04

My mil does the opposite, she refers to her own body parts as if they're not hers. She'll say things like "the neck is hurting" or "I saw the doctor today about the leg".

She really infuriates me.

BoreOfWhabylon Thu 09-May-13 21:46:54

West Country Dialects are a hangover from Anglo Saxon. Fascinating stuff and living history!

chateauferret Sun 12-May-13 22:41:09

That business about 'the neck' etc. is also pretty typical of other languages including Germanic ones so using the personal pronoun would seem to be an innovation in modern English. Cf. German 'my neck hurts' -> 'Mir tut der Hals weh'.

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