Discussion » Questions » Communication » Is using "the" in front of a group of people offensive?

Is using "the" in front of a group of people offensive?

AP says it is.  

Why did they need a correction? 

Posted - January 27, 2023


  • 5453
    In response to AP’s change to AP’s style guide, diplomats from France have already made necessary changes.

      January 27, 2023 8:04 PM MST

  • 32944
    It is ok...The AP apologized to "the French."
      January 28, 2023 5:33 AM MST

  • 2217
    Piece of nonsense. 'The' woke trying to control your language yet again. 
      January 28, 2023 5:43 AM MST

  • 32944
      January 28, 2023 5:50 AM MST

  • 3684
    They complain about being "dehumanizing" [sic] but such mangling of the language is at least as bad. 

    I wonder who exactly has been so offended personally (not self-appointedly on the supposed behalf of random third-parties) that they have had to go running to Associated Press about it? Indeed, has anyone been so offended? Where it will it end?

    It makes one aspect of George Orwell's 1984 rather prescient: diminishing and corrupting the language to suit narrow political ends.

    I am white, I am British, specifically English. If someone on a foreign (to me) forum refers to "the whites", "the British / Britons", "the English", would I be offended for myself, or my entire nation or my race? NO, unless the text is being nasty; and then it would be the message rather than individual words that matters. 

    I do mean ordinary, innocent words and grammar, not ones themselves are intended from the start to be rude.

    It is context that counts, and if some American calls me "a Limey", I'd object only if he was being sarcastic or demeaning. (It does have an honourable origin.) On the other hand I would not call him a "Yank[ee]" because I know that comes from a very painful time in the US' history, with lingering repercussions. It is also sometimes used by Britons expressing anger at some US initiative against the UK, usually commercial or cultural.

    I don't like the sloppy word "Brit" though, which I think was coined or certainly encouraged by the British newspaper The Sun; and I don't gratuitously affect Americanisms like "guy".

    The irony of it all is that the scramble for "equality" and "inclusion"  and the like is undoubtedly well-meaning, but has encouraged a lot of "The ~~~~ Community" inventing by people categorising themselves in database-like boxes, as if thinking their status or part of society somehow different or special. No - it is not, they are just people. An effect potentially as divisive as the intolerance they are, rightly, trying to end.

    Perhaps AP ought look instead at pseudo-intellectual business terms like "Human Resources", if they want to find "dehumanising" language.
      February 2, 2023 6:11 AM MST

  • 32944
    You have worded this so much better than I could. 
      February 2, 2023 8:12 AM MST

  • 2914
    I think that may have been a "yes" or "no" question. :) :)
      February 27, 2024 12:42 PM MST