Publish date:

Heroin vs. Heroine vs. Hero (Grammar Rules)

Learn when it's appropriate to use heroin vs. heroine vs. hero with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors. Believe it or not, the heroic possibilities aren't quite as cut and dried as many expect.

In a world of superheroes and comic-based multiverses, many writers are bound to ask for the super-powered female protagonists, "Should I use the word heroin or heroine?"

Image placeholder title

Heroin vs. Heroine

Heroin is an addictive opioid that is typically injected into a vein, though it can also be smoked, snorted, or inhaled. It's the drug of choice used in the movie Trainspotting, based on Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name. It's generally considered a bad recreational drug that can ruin lives, though users take it for its euphoric effects.

(Grammar Rules for Writers.)

Heroine is the female protagonist of a work of fiction and/or a real-life woman admired for her outstanding qualities and/or achievements. Kind of like Amelia Earhart or Princess Diana (aka, Wonder Woman).

So while heroin may briefly make someone feel like they have superpowers, heroines sometimes actually do have superpowers.

Make sense?

But why did I include the term hero in the title?

Good question.

This is where it can get a little confusing, because popular usage is mixed on whether to refer to women with superpowers as heroines or heroes. Some sources refer to a super-powered and/or admirable woman as a hero, making the word hero gender-neutral. And maybe that's the way language is moving.

I'm not making a ruling either way. However, whether you prefer hero or heroine, please don't use heroin. It's bad for your health.

*****

Learn more in the online course, Grammar and Mechanics, from Writer's Digest University:

Image placeholder title
writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Annual Writing Competition Early-Bird Deadline, Seven WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce the Annual Writing Competition early-bird deadline, seven WDU courses starting this week, and more!

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

3 Big Tips for Writing a Children’s Picture Book Like a Pro

Small but mighty, picture books help raise children into lifelong readers. Children's book author Diana Murray offers 3 big tips for writing a picture book like a pro.

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

5 Things I Learned About Writing From Watching Soap Operas

Lessons in writing can come from various forms of art or entertainment. Author Alverne Ball shares 5 things he learned about writing from watching soap operas.

From Script

Writing from an Intimate Point of View and Adding Essential Elements to Solidify Your Screenplay (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, TV writer Kate Sargeant shares a first-hand look on her new digital series that was a life-changing experience. Plus an interview with filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, a new installment from ‘Ask the Coach’ and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice but Never Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Collecting Advice (but Never Writing)

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is to collect writing advice at the expense of actually writing.

The Benefits of a Book Coach for Writers

The Benefits of Having a Book Coach for Writers

What is a book coach? How could they help authors? Award-winning author and writing instructor Mark Spencer answers these questions and more in this post about the benefits of having a book coach for writers.

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Clare Chambers: On Starting Fresh and Switching Gears

Award-winning author Clare Chambers discusses the fear and excitement of switching genre gears in her new historical fiction novel, Small Pleasures.

Poetic Forms

Exquisite Corpse: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver), a collaborative poem that would make a fun poetic game.

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

How Opening Ourselves to Other People Can Make Us Better Writers

The writing process is both individual and communal, as receiving constructive feedback and outside encouragement helps our drafts become finished manuscripts. Author Peri Chickering discusses how opening ourselves up to others can make us better writers.