Episode 25: November 10, 2006
Grammar Girl here.
Today's topic is whether you can use the word woman as an adjective.
Ann in Baltimore, Maryland, asked why people were referring to Nancy Pelosi as the woman Speaker of the House instead of the female speaker of the house, and Amy in Delaware asked a similar question a few days ago.
The bottom line is that although some reference books say it is OK to use woman as an adjective, it sounds strange to me, and I recommend using the word female instead.
Seventy-two percent of the 650 respondents to the last poll said they always use the word who when writing about people.