Ungendered "he said-she said"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Dec 2 18:40:44 UTC 2009

"He said-she said" sounds right to me, and I'm fairly confident I've
heard it in non-gender-specific uses.  It expresses the opposition
that to me "he said-he said" and "she said-she said" don't, and if
I'd heard those I think I'd have remembered.

A Googling search does pull up several ungendered "he said-she said"s.

There is the (limited view) book _He-said-she-said: talk as social
organization among Black children_, by Marjorie Harness Goodwin, that
appears to use the term "he-said-she-said" as an ungendered
description of a certain type of argument.

A sports column of the Washington Times is called "He Said, She Said".

*** HE SAID / SHE SAID:***
*** How to Keep Liars Out of Court ***
by Jonathan Marin,
about testimony in general and not specifically about divorce cases,
says "The volume of accusations, together with the "he said /she
said" nature of most cases ..."

Perhaps someone can figure out how to search for "he said-he said"
and "she-said-she said"!

And, tell me why if I search for "he said she said" I get 327,000
hits, but if I add *exclusion* of tisdale and song I get 3,000,000!


At 12/2/2009 01:03 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>At 8:52 AM -0900 12/2/09, David Bowie wrote:
>>I heard a report on the radio this morning about last night's meeting of
>>the Anchorage [Alaska] Assembly (an oddly-named 11-member city council),
>>at which they reviewed the "Wheeler report", a report that claims that
>>former Anchorage mayor (now US senator) Mark Begich willfully misled the
>>assembly on the state of city finances before leaving office.
>>One of the sound bites was from Sheila Selkregg (i think), a member of
>>the assembly, who called the report a "he said-she said" document.
>>The interesting thing is that both sides are male--on the one is Mark
>>Begich, and on the other is either Dennis Wheeler (the author of the
>>report) or Dan Sullivan (the current mayor, who's been hypercritical of
>>Begich's administration and has heavily promoted the report).
>>Of course, i don't know if there's further context that would go against
>>this interpretation, but this really sounded to me like "he said-she
>>said" has branched out into meaning simply "two sides [unmarked for sex]
>>each claim opposing things that can't be definitively proven". Has
>>anyone else come across this?
>I have, although I don't have a specific cite for it.  Probably a
>google search would pull some up.  I've also heard "HE-said/HE-said"
>and, although less frequently, "SHE-said/SHE-said" for the same-sex
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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