√ Use … × Instead of…
√ Died by suicide
× Committed/Completed/Successful suicide
√ Suicidal ideation with a plan; suicide without a plan
× Active suicidal ideation; Passive suicidal ideation
√ Alcohol use disorder/Benzodiazepine use disorder
× Alcohol dependence or use continuous
√ Person with a mental health disability; person who has/person diagnosed with depression/schizophrenia, etc.; Terminology varies throughout countries – “insane” and “insanity” are generally legal terms and reported as such in news programming
× Negative references to mental health and well-being such as: lunatic, mental patient, mental disease, neurotic, psychotic, crazy
√ Hard of hearing; deaf; deafened or late-deafened; Deaf (uses sign language)
× Hearing-impaired; blanket term “deaf” used at the wrong time
√ Person who uses a wheelchair
√ Wheelchair user
√ Person living with vision loss
√ Person who is blind
√ Person who has a vision impairment
× Blind; visually impaired
√ Person with a disability
√ Persons with disabilities
√ People with disabilities
√ Individuals with disabilities
× Disabled, invalid, handicapped, physically challenged (challenges and handicaps are environmental conditions)
√ Person born with a disability
× Birth defect, deformity/deformed, congenital defect
√ Person with a disability or a person with a/who has a motion disability;
√ Person with (e.g., a spinal cord injury)
× Crippled or lame
√ Has (e.g., asthma, cancer)
× Suffers from (e.g., asthma, cancer)
√ Person/people/individual with (a) dementia
√ Person/people/individual living with dementia
√ Person/people living well with dementia
√ A person with Alzheimer’s disease
× Dementia sufferer; demented; senile or senile dementia; burden; victim; plague; epidemic; living death (e.g., dementia is a living death)
♥ Re: “dementia patient” – okay to use when talking about people in a hospital or actually using a care service).
√ Person who has (a particular disease or condition). Ex: A person who has had a stroke.
× Suffers from; was stricken with; is confined to; or is afflicted by/with. These terms patronize, pity, victimize or insult.
√ Older people; older person; older adult
× Elderly; old people; old person
♥ Seniors or senior citizens is an acceptable term for most.
√ Accessible parking
× Handicapped parking
√ Accessible bathrooms
× Handicapped bathrooms
√ Person with an intellectual disability or persons with learning disabilities
× Mentally retarded; retarded; mentally defective; mentally challenged
√ Indigenous Peoples, First Nations Peoples, Inuit Peoples, Metis Peoples, Aboriginal Peoples. Note: Always go with what they are calling themselves.
√ Eskimo, Indian, Native are less-used terms and can be taken as derogatory.
√ Black (as an adjective); African-American/African-Americans (as nouns) (both are acceptable, but not necessarily interchangeable.) In Canada, Black or Black Canadian.
SIMPLE RULE: It’s people first. The person comes first.
The disability or disease comes second.
REGARDING IMAGES: Use images that reflect the whole person, rather than a fading face or wrinkled hands. This is especially important when the article is about living a positive life or overcoming challenges.
Angela G. Gentile
Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide,” “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival,” “How to Edit an Anthology: Write or Compile a Collection that Sells,” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com
Search terms: politically correct, political correctness, terminology, writing, speaking, sensitive, appropriate, modern, neutral, acceptable
2 thoughts on “Appropriate and/or Correct Words and Phrases (No offense!)”
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