About the Inclusionary

This page provides detailed information about the entries in the Inclusionary, the way they are structured and the information they contain.

On this page

General considerations

When you’re writing to someone whose gender is unknown, to someone who is non-binary or to a group of people of diverse genders, it’s important to write inclusively and omit any references to gender.

The Inclusionary contains entries for more than 100 gendered words and expressions, with suggested solutions. The inclusive solutions proposed in the tool reflect the techniques outlined in the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing.

Not everyone will agree with all the solutions provided in the Inclusionary. Some solutions may not apply in certain contexts. The Inclusionary is designed to provide potential solutions, not absolute answers that can be mechanically applied in every context.

Inclusive solutions aren’t ranked in any particular order, and no specific recommendations are made as to how the solutions should be applied. The Inclusionary is intended simply as a starting point for anyone striving to be more inclusive when writing, editing or translating.

Nor does the Inclusionary provide an exhaustive list of gendered terms. However, it does include terms from a broad range of fields and areas of activity associated with the various members of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Inclusive Writing that helped develop this tool. To find out more about the Working Group and its role, see the History of the Guidelines for Inclusive Writing.

The Inclusionary is an evolving tool that will continue to be updated over time. Help us improve it by filling out the suggestion form.

Structure of entries

The terms that appear in the Inclusionary are listed in alphabetical order. Masculine and feminine equivalents are given where applicable. The masculine form appears first. Sometimes, only the masculine form is used to illustrate an example; other times, only the feminine form is used; yet other times, both masculine and feminine forms are used.

Each entry may include the following sections:

  • the “Examples and solutions” section, which consists of a table with one or more examples of gendered sentences and inclusive solutions
  • the “Note” section, which is linked to a footnote indicator and provides details on proposed solutions
  • the “See also” section, which contains links to related entries

Gendered sentences

The gendered sentences are short and simple, and are designed to highlight the entry word or words.

An entry may include more than one gendered sentence: for instance, there might be one sentence in which the word is singular and another in which the word is plural. Additional gendered sentences may also be included if the headword is associated with more than one meaning. In most cases, the most common meaning of the gendered word appears first.

Suggested solutions

In most cases, more than one solution is provided for a gendered term.

Note that the meaning of an inclusive solution can sometimes deviate slightly from that of the gendered sentence. Although the Inclusionary provides solutions that work in many contexts, you’ll notice that some solutions are more general than the word in the gendered sentence (for example, cleaner to replace cleaning lady). In other cases, the proposed solution may be more specific (oil company executive or oilfield worker to replace oilman or oilwoman). You must therefore exercise judgment in applying the suggested solutions.

The inclusive solutions are not presented in any particular order. However, for most entries, the solutions that most closely follow the structure of the gendered sentence appear first. These are then followed by sentences with structures that may deviate somewhat from the original sentence.

User guide: How to search the Inclusionary and use the menu

Refer to the Inclusionary user guide to learn how to search the Inclusionary and use the menu functions.

Additional information

Copyright notice for Writing Tips Plus

© His Majesty the King in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada