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1. Can we call a baby or a child "it" if we don't know the child's sex?

ex. Look at that child. It's so cute. I like its curly hair.

2. Must we put the article "a" in this sentence?

ex. Is it a she or a he?
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Yes, I think you can, but I would have thought a child with curly hair would be identifiable. With a baby it is much less easy to tell whcih sex it is; and in #2, no, you needn't have "a". But it is more usual to say "Is it a boy or a girl?"
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1. Is it "he" or "she"?

2. Is it a he or a she?

I would agree that both are possible; but for me, #1 would be less usual and would suggest a submerged grammatical enquiry (i.e. Should I say "he" or "she"?), while #2 would be roughly synonymous with "Is it a boy or a girl?".

Interestingly, one of the earliest direct references to a new-born baby tends to be "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!".

MrP
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Comments  
Hi,

1. Can we call a baby or a child "it" if we don't know the child's sex?

ex. Look at that child. It's so cute. I like its curly hair.


I'd say 'it' is commonly used for small babies, although not, of course, by those who know and love the baby, and not usually when talking to the parents or relatives. To be truthful, some people don't particulatly care if a baby is male or female and are not interested in trying to identify its sex.


Best wishes, Clive
 MrPedantic's reply was promoted to an answer.
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one of the earliest direct references to a new-born baby tends to be "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!".
And throughout the rest of its life, it says, referring to itself, "It's me!" And if I appear unexpectedly at a friend's, they say "It's Jim!"

Does this mean that we actually refer even to adults as "it"? Or is there less direct reference here than meets the eye?

Are these "it"s different, really? And if so, which are referring "it"s, and which aren't? I'm a little on the fence here, trying to decide.

CJ
Thank you, everybody, for your good and clear replies.