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Review: Dividing Your Argument, Answer 2.7


The answer [7] is incorrect.

[1] The broad range of positive characteristics used to define males could be used to define females too, but they are not. [2] At its entry for woman Webster’s Third provides a list of qualities considered distinctive of womanhood: gentleness, affection, and domesticity or on the other hand fickleness, superficiality, and folly. [3] Among the qualities considered distinctive of manhood listed in the entry for man, no negative attributes detract from the courage, strength, and vigor the definers associate with males.[4] Lexicographers do not make up definitions out of thin air. [5] Their task is to record how words are used; it is not to say how they should be used. [6] The examples they choose to illustrate meanings can therefore be especially revealing of cultural expectations. [7] The American Heritage Dictionary (1969), which provides manly courage and masculine charm also gives us woman is fickle, brought out the woman in him, womanly virtue, feminine allure, feminine wiles, and womanish tears. (from Casey Miller & Kate Swift, "Manly and Womanly" [edited])
The break should occur where the authors move from a list of definitions to a discussion of the basis that lexicographers use to develop dictionary entries.