Written by Camille Cunningham –

So you want to write more inclusively? Great! That means more people will feel welcome when they read your content, and you won’t accidentally exclude them. But if that’s not enough reason, just think how many more people will engage with your content if you involve them and make your content relatable to them! So, what does inclusive language look like? We’re here to give you some examples.

Seven categories

Before we dive into the inclusive language examples, it’s good to know that there are roughly seven categories to pay attention to. They are: age, appearance, race, culture and ethnicity, disability and neurodiversity, gender, socioeconomic status, and lastly sexual and romantic orientation (yes, race, culture and ethnicity is one category). You can click on every category to learn more about it.

In this post, we’ll give examples of every category.

Inclusive language example: age

This category might come as a surprise to you, but ageism is a real problem. But what is it exactly? To quote the World Health Organization (WHO), ageism “refers to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or oneself based on age.”

Let’s look at an example of non-inclusive writing first. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive word: 

I was just on my way to the grocery store when a group of seniors decided to visit too. At first, I was worried I’d have to stand in line for ages. But as I walked in, I got to talking with one of the women. She was very lovely, and explained they were actually here to do some volunteering!

The bolded word could be potentially harmful to older adults, unless they actually use these words to refer to themselves. Here’s what you could do to write more inclusively:

I was just on my way to the grocery store when a group of older people decided to visit too. At first, I was worried I’d have to stand in line for ages. But as I walked in, I got to talking with one of the women. She was very lovely, and explained they were here to actually do some volunteering!

As you can see, a few minor changes to the text can already make a difference. And it isn’t that much of an effort to make the text relatable to a larger group of people.

Inclusive language example: appearance

You probably know the famous saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. Whatever a person looks like, you shouldn’t judge them based on their appearance. Especially when that judgment is based on prejudices. 

Here’s an example of non-inclusive writing. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive word:

We’d booked a hotel near the sea, so we visited the beach every day. Both locals and tourists seemed to love this beach. And we highly recommend it too! If you’re insecure about your body, don’t worry. Both fat people and thin people came to enjoy the sun at this beach.

There’s something called an ‘anti-fat bias‘, also known as fatphobia. This occurs when people are judged or mistreated for having a weight higher than what is perceived as “standard”. To avoid reinforcing this bias, it’s good to pay attention to your language when talking about people’s weight. In general, avoiding commenting on people’s weight unless it’s relevant to the topic. If it is relevant, avoid using “fat” unless you are referring to someone who prefers that term to describe their appearance.

So let’s look at the same text but with an inclusive word:

We’d booked a hotel near the sea, so we visited the beach every day. Both locals and tourists seemed to love this beach. And we highly recommend it too! If you’re insecure about your body, don’t worry. Both people who have a higher weight and a lower weight came to enjoy the sun at this beach.

Before we move onto the next category, let’s do one more example. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive word:

My day was good! I actually got a new colleague who’s going to work on the renovation project with me. He’s a midget, and overall a really nice guy.

Ah, the “m” word. It’s never been an official term to identify people with dwarfism. Rather, it’s been used to put people of short stature on display and nowadays, it’s considered a derogatory slur. So here’s the same text with an inclusive word instead:

My day was good! I actually got a new colleague who’s going to work on the renovation project with me. He has a short stature, and he’s overall a really nice guy.

Inclusive language example: race, culture, and ethnicity

When you think about inclusive language, this category is probably top of mind. And while the topic has gained popularity over the years, it’s always good to be extra mindful of your language. You don’t want to maintain a bias toward people based on their race, ethnicity, country of origin, or culture. 

Let’s look at an example of non-inclusive writing. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive words:

If you want to travel around the world, we only have one thing to say: do it! It’s truly an amazing experience. We always recommend people to visit East Asia, because it’s a stunning region. If you decide to visit Japan, we highly recommend Tanaka’s curry house in Osaka. It’s run by a lovely oriental couple. But don’t write off third world countries when you’re planning your trip! They are very gorgeous too.

First of all, you shouldn’t use a word like ‘oriental’, because it’s othering towards Asian people. What’s othering? In the simplest terms, it’s pointing a finger at someone and saying you are different. Which is obviously bad. And second, don’t use the word ‘third world’. You might not realize it, but it’s very derogatory.

Here’s what you should write instead:

If you want to travel around the world, we only have one thing to say: do it! It’s truly an amazing experience. We always recommend people to visit East Asia, because it’s a stunning region. If you decide to visit Japan, we highly recommend Tanaka’s curry house in Osaka. It’s run by a lovely Japanese couple. But don’t write off low-income countries! They are very gorgeous too.

Inclusive language example: disability and neurodiversity

Telling a wheelchair user to ‘walk it off’ can be very insensitive. But that’s exactly what you do when you don’t take disability and neurodiversity into account when writing. And be aware that some disabilities aren’t always visible!

First, the non-inclusive example. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive words:

Our company has some crazy benefits for its employees. And if it isn’t sorted, just say the word and we’ll fix it for you. Nothing will fall on deaf ears! And we support the disabled too. Because we want everyone to feel welcome!

Using words like ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ has become pretty common in our society. But it can minimize or trivialize the experiences of people who have a particular condition or symptom. So take care to avoid these types of words. 

Let’s look at what you should write instead:

Our company has some amazing benefits for its employees. And if it isn’t sorted, just say the word and we’ll fix it for you. Nothing won’t be addressed! And we support people with disabilities too. Because we want everyone to feel welcome!

Do note that neurodiverse people and disabled people may prefer different approaches to how they want to be described. There are generally two: person-first language (PFL), and identity-first language (IFL). It’s the difference between ‘person with a disability’ or ‘disabled person’. You can learn more about PFL and IFL on our help page. And don’t hesitate to ask people what they prefer! 

Inclusive language example: gender

When we talk about writing inclusively, this also means looking out for gendered words. ‘Man-hours’ is a very obvious example, as is simply using ‘he/him’ to refer to people in general. We also call the latter male bias.

Let’s look at a non-inclusive example. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive words:

If you’re looking for your next read, look no further. We’ve got an awesome list of books that both men and women will love. These titles are truly some of mankind’s best novels. And as part of our inclusivity campaign, we also included books that center transgenders.

A great thing to remember is that neither gender nor sex is inherently binary. There are more gender identities than men and women, such as genderfluid and non-binary people. In addition, there are also people with no gender, such as agender and some non-binary people. 

Here’s the same text, but written inclusively:

If you’re looking for your next read, look no further. We’ve got an awesome list of books that everyone will love. These titles are truly some of humanity’s best novels. And as part of our inclusivity campaign, we also included books that center transgender people.

Inclusive language example: socioeconomic status

When you write about topics that center around income, education, occupation, and social class, you might want to pay extra attention to what words you use. You don’t want to alienate or harm parts of your audience by being non-inclusive. The key is to try and be as specific as possible. 

Here’s a non-inclusive example. We’ve bolded the non-inclusive words:

Hubert was a truly remarkable man. He dedicated his life to helping others. As an ex-offender, he knew how bad life could get. That’s why he frequently organized fundraisers for the poor and homeless. In addition, he volunteered at soup kitchens and provided care packages for illegal immigrants.

As we said, when writing about income or housing, try to be as specific as possible. Don’t overgeneralize. As for the term ‘illegal immigrants’, it’s not only harmful but also inaccurate. And finally, don’t reduce people to their experiences with the criminal justice system. That’s dehumanizing. 

Let’s look at the same text but with inclusive words:

Hubert was a truly remarkable man. He dedicated his life to helping others. As a person with felony convictions, he knew how bad life could get. That’s why he frequently organized fundraisers for individuals with low income and people who are homeless. In addition, he volunteered at soup kitchens and provided care packages for undocumented people.

Inclusive language example: sexual and romantic orientation

Before we dive into the example, let’s quickly get on the same page. Sexual orientation is who you experience sexual attraction to, and romantic orientation is who you feel romantically attracted to. It’s also important to keep in mind that not everyone is comfortable with certain labels. Some people describe themselves as bisexual, while others might prefer queer or simply no label at all.

Here’s an example with non-inclusive words. We’ve bolded what is not inclusive:

When we visited Amsterdam, we had no idea it was Pride Amsterdam. There was a canal parade that we attended, which was really awesome. There were rainbows everywhere. And it was great to see so many homosexuals and lesbians celebrating who they are. We even got to dance and sing along. It was fun!

First things first: Don’t use the word homosexual. It’s often considered derogatory because of its clinical associations. Next, you should be careful with assumptions. Assuming everyone at pride is gay or a lesbian is an overgeneralization, and probably wrong. You’d be excluding a lot of other sexual and romantic identities. That’s why it might be better to use descriptions instead of labels, unless someone tells you what label they prefer of course.

Here’s one way of writing the previous text more inclusively. We’ve bolded the changes we made:

When we visited Amsterdam, we had no idea it was Pride Amsterdam. There was a canal parade that we attended, which was really awesome. There were rainbows everywhere. And it was great to see so many gay people, lesbians and other people belonging to the LGBTQ+ community celebrating who they are. We even got to dance and sing along. It was fun!

Make it easier for yourself

Now that we’ve gone over every category, you might feel a little overwhelmed. And we get it. It’s a lot to remember all at once. That’s why we’ve introduced the inclusive language analysis in Yoast SEO. How does it work? Simply write your text, and the analysis feature will assess your post. You’ll get valuable feedback to help you improve your content, so your posts and pages will appeal to a wider audience. Meaning: You don’t have to Google everything!

example of a check in the inclusive language analysis in Yoast SEO
The inclusive language analysis in Yoast SEO

Don’t be afraid to ask

Good job, you! By reading this post, you’ve taken the first step into writing more inclusively. And while you might not get it right straight away, it’s good that you’re trying. So keep doing that! And don’t be afraid to ask people about their identities, and learn from them. Because inclusive language is here to stay. 

Read more: Does inclusive language help you rank? »



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