EN: it / he, she, him, her - pronoun for animals / pets

isausa81

Senior Member
FRANCE - French
When we talk about animals, do we say "He/She" or It (because it's not a human-being) ?

Thanks !

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  • romenk

    Senior Member
    Bulgaria
    Normally it. If you are particularly attached to your cat and think of it as a quasi family member, and it's a male cat, you can call it he.
     
    Hi Isausa.

    In the UK we are very pedantic about giving our pets the correct gender when speaking of, or writing about, them.

    If I meet a person walking a dog and stop to say 'Hello', it is a must to ask the owner whether the dog is male or female. Then you can say, "Isn't he/she beautiful!" and proceed to pet the dog and say, "What a beautiful girl you are," or "Aren't you a handsome boy?"

    If someone sees a dog and mistakenly says, "Isn't he handsome?", the owner will quickly tell you, "She's a girl!"

    We're funny that way.................
     

    isausa81

    Senior Member
    FRANCE - French
    Hi LaReineVictoria !

    Lol for your example !! It made me laugh ... Thanks a lot for the explanation ! I now understand better the "nuance".

    But I have a last question: So, in which case do you use the pronoun "It" to refer to an animal ?

    Thks !
     

    hald

    Senior Member
    France
    Quand ce n'est pas le tien :D

    Si j'ai bien tout suivi, on devrait normalement utiliser le neutre pour parler d'un animal, mais on a tendance à utiliser he/she comme marque d'affection : après tout, tu ne considères pas ton chien ou ton chat comme un objet.
     
    Hi Isausa,

    We would use 'it' to refer to an animal on two occasions I can think of.

    1. (At the zoo, for example): "Look at that crocodile, isn't it enormous!"

    2. If we are frightened: "I hate your pet rat! Take it away!"

    But generally speaking, if we know the animal's gender we say 'he' or 'she'. Some over-enthusiastic animal watchers will take a look at the rear end if the difference isn't immediately apparent.

    They are even funnier that way...
     

    Auryn

    Senior Member
    France, French
    What I find rather confusing is that a cat is often called 'she' in the UK, regardless of its actual gender. How many times have I had this problem at the vet's!

    Person in vet's waiting room: What a cute cat! What's her name?
    Me: His name is Withnail.
    Person: She's lovely!

    :confused:

    Not to mention the "Good Girl" range of cat products. How humiliating for male cats!
     
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    I agree Auryn. I think this has arisen from the comparison of women to cats. Shan't go too deeply into that, just think of 'Pussy'.

    I once had a boyfriend, very masculine, but I called him 'Pussy'.

    I'm funny that way...........

    Re 'Good Girl' range, we have 'Good Boy' choc drops for dogs. Very sexist, n'est-ce pas?

    Regards,
    LRV
     

    mcfadden_ronan

    Member
    Ireland, English
    It's a little silly, but I think people automatically think of a cat as a "she" and a dog as a "he", at least I do :eek:.

    It would be considered insensitive to refer to a cat or a dog as "it", in my humble (albeit animal-loving) opinion :D
     

    Marcewa

    Senior Member
    France / French
    Hello,

    Could you tell me what noun must be used for a female dog: it or she?

    First I thought ''he'' or ''she'' must be only used for people but now I have a doubt. What must be used for dogs or animals?

    Thanks.
     

    trastu

    Senior Member
    British English
    Either would be OK.

    I think perhaps you would be more like to use 'she' if the dog belonged to you but if you were speaking about any female dog in general you would probably use 'it'.
     

    Shanon7

    Member
    Français - France
    Hello ! Je me demandais quand employer it au lieu de he/she pour un animal. Par exemple, si on a un chat et qu'on veut dire qu'il a faim, on dit "he is hungry" ou "it is angry?"
    Mais si on veut dire "c'est son jouet" là on va dire "it is its toy plutôt non?

    Thanks!
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Si c'est un animal de compagnie, on utilise he/his ou she/her dans tous les cas :

    He is hungry. This is his toy.

    On n'utilise it/its que pour les autres animaux :

    The deer went to the creek because it was thirsty.
     

    blunket

    New Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree with Maître Capello, but:
    if the animal has its own name or you have a close relationship with the animal, use he/she.

    Also if you don't know the animal's gender, you can ask someone who knows, otherwise say "it"

    The rule here isn't always very consistent.

    examples
    - "If I had a dog I would pet it."
    - "I love my cat Felix, he is so cute!"
    - "Your dog is cute, I would like to pet it. Is it a he or she?"
     

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Le pronom utilisé pour les animaux en général est it. Si c'est un animal de compagnie, on utilise he ou she (et donc him ou her), mais pour cela il faut connaître le sexe de l'animal. Si on ne le connaît pas, on utilise it, ce qui est le cas du titre de l'article.
     

    djweaverbeaver

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    En m'appuyant sur ce qu'a déjà dit @Maître Capello, it ici est plus impersonnel. Dire s/he aurait ajouté un élément plus émotif, plus biaisé à un article qui se veut (plus ou moins) objectif et donc sérieux malgré l'incident décrit.
     

    érès

    Member
    French, France
    Bonjour à tous,

    Je suis en train de traduire vers l'anglais un texte qui fait référence à des illustrations d'un livre pour enfants sur les dinosaures.

    Je suis très perplexe quant aux pronoms à utiliser, he/she s'imposent par réflexe français et je me suis astreinte à n'utiliser que "it", mais dans certains passages cela me paraît très bizarre. J'ai l'impression que ma gêne vient du fait que le "il" fait ici référence à moitié à l'animal en général et à moitié à l'animal qu'on voit sur l'image. Qu'en pensez-vous ? Serait-il envisageable que le pronom change en cours de texte ? Dans la traduction du premier extrait j'ai envie d'utiliser "she" dans la première phrase puis qu'il s'agit vraisemblablement d'une mère et de son petit, mais ensuite il faudrait sûrement réutiliser "it". Dans la traduction du second extrait j'ai vraiment envie d'écrire "leave him alone" !

    Voici le texte original (2 extraits)

    "Ce stegosaurus adulte se promène avec son petit près du reste du troupeau. […] Aussi long qu’un bus, ce paisible herbivore est solidement armé. Sa queue est munie de longues pointes qui lui servent à se défendre de ses principaux prédateurs."

    "Ce camarasaurus est un géant pacifique. Les carnivores le laissent tranquille, car c’estune trop grosse proie pour eux !
    C’est un géant long de près de 18 mètres. Pourtant, le camarasaurus est l’un des plus petits membres du groupedes sauropodes. Parmi ses cousins, le supersaurus est un des plus longs animaux ayant vécu sur Terre, avec 34 mètres. Quant au sauroposeidon, il était trois fois plus haut qu’une girafe."

    Et ma traduction :

    "This adult Stegosaurus is taking a stroll with its young near the rest of the herd. […] A quiet herbivore as long as a bus, the Stegosaurus is securely armed. Its tail is equipped with long spikes which it uses to defend itself against its main predators, namely the Allosaurus and the Ceratosaurus."

    "This Camarasaurus is a peaceful giant. Carnivores leave it alone, since it is too big a prey for them!
    It is close to 18 m long / 60 feet long. Still, it is one of the smallest sauropod dinosaurs. Its cousin the Supersaurus is one of the longest animals that ever walked the Earth, measuring up to 34 m long / 111 feet long. Another cousin, the Sauroposeidon, was three times as high as a giraffe."

    Un grand merci d'avance pour vos réponses !

    Hannah
     

    érès

    Member
    French, France
    Merci de votre réponse :) Oui, c'est vrai que ça pourrait marcher, au moins pour le 2e extrait. […]

    Cela dit, je me demande toujours quoi faire pour les deux premières phrases du 2e extrait, où je parle d'un dinosaure en particulier… "Them" réglerait le problème, mais il me paraît nécessaire de garder le singulier. Alors, "It" ou "him" ?
     
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    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Le recours au pluriel est évidemment une bonne façon de contourner le problème. :)

    Mais si un pronom singulier est nécessaire, il n'y a guère que pour les animaux de compagnie et certains mammifères comme le gorille, le dauphin ou encore l'éléphant que l'on utilise he/his ou she/her plutôt que it/its. Dans tous les autres cas, dinosaures compris, c'est it/its.

    Its tail is equipped with long spikes, which it uses to defend itself against its main predators. :thumbsup:

    Carnivores leave it alone :thumbsup:
    Carnivores leave him alone. :thumbsdown: (Le pronom him serait d'ailleurs d'autant plus inadapté que le sexe de votre dinosaure n'est pas connu puisque vous parlez du camarasaurus en général.)

    Voir aussi ces discussions du forum English Only.
     
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