Archive for July 2023

A writing exercise

I recently wrote a working paper (on academic careers) and since it was urgently needed I did not want to spend time on style issues but instead to keep things simple. So I preceded it with the comment “Using he’ as an abbreviation for `he or she’.”  I received the helpful suggestion that I could have used “they” ‘instead.

I have a great style exercise for you. Rewrite the following text (a fictitious description of a fictitious interview session) using the “they” style. Keep the rest of the content as it is of course.

All the candidates are in the room. Each in turn gives his presentation to the committee, in the presence of the other candidates, who may use the opportunity to revise their own presentations. It can make for an awkward situation because they are actually competing with him and with each other for the position. At the end of his presentation, the committee members ask him the questions that they have prepared during his talk; he engages in a free discussion with them. He then steps outside so that they can discuss his performance in his absence; when they are done, they call him back into the room and they tell him the result of their assessment of him, giving him the opportunity to prompt them for more detailed comments about his presentation and more generally about what they think of his profile. Afterwards, he will in turn listen to the other candidates’ presentations, which in spite of the competitive situation give him an opportunity to learn from them and network with them for his own benefit.



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