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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
LMAO Chicago weighs in on zombies today. Of course I thought of David McAfee. In this month's Q&A, this was one of the questions and answers:

Q. When referring to a zombie, should I use the relative pronoun who (which would refer to a person) or that (since, technically, the zombie is no longer living)? Essentially, does a zombie cease to become a "person" in the grammatical sense?

A. Let's assume this is a serious question, in which case you, as the writer, get to decide just how much humanity (if any) and grammatical sense you wish to invest in said zombie. That will guide your choice of who or that.

Monthly Q&A if anyone wants to get their word-geek fix: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/latest.html
 

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It makes sense. We speak of a dead body as a person or a thing depending on the context. If someone asks "Where's George?" You might say "He's in the coffin," you probably wouldn't say "It is in the coffin." But if they asked "Where's George's body?" you might say "It is in the coffin." With zombies you add the whole lurching around and eating brains factor, of course. To what extent you think the Zombie is George is pretty much up to you.
 

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My characters strip it of humanity, if only to make it/them easier to deal with and kill. Those closer to the group (former group members) may be referred to as "he/she" for a time, though.

I agree with the answer given, and I think it shows the wisdom of the responder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, yeah. Chicago's usually right on, though I do occasionally disagree with them. I was just amused to see them talking about zombies. In all seriousness, the same could be said of how to treat pronouns when referring to pets, fetuses, etc. But that discussion wouldn't be nearly as humorous as zombies :)
 

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As a fun non-English aside related to animals:

In Dutch humans have heads and animals have . . . let's call them noggins. (The words are hoofd and kop.)

This is, however, not true of horses. Horses ALSO have heads.

An exception to the linguistic custom which is based on the nobility and usefulness of the animal, apparently.

Language is fun . . .
 

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Diane Patterson said:
You've clearly never dated the ones I have. Total "thats."
Okay, there are plenty of people in real life I might consider a "that". lol But in fiction, my zombies would have to be "whos." I'm dying to see Warm Bodies. I think Friday is the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Diane Patterson said:
You've clearly never dated the ones I have. Total "thats."
LOL I've dated some non-zombie thats, too, sadly...

And Warm Bodies looks like such fun :)
 
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