Q. What is a personal pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that refers to either the people talking (like I or you) or someone or something that is being talked about (like she, them, and this). Personal pronouns (like he, hers, ze) specifically refer to people that you are talking about.
Subject Pronouns: She, He, They, Ze
Object Pronouns: Her, Him, Them, Hir
Possessive Pronouns: Her/Hers, His, Their/Theirs, Hir/Hirs
Reflexive Pronouns: Herself, Himself, Themselves, Hirself
Q. What is a designated personal pronoun?
A designated personal pronoun is a pronoun an individual chooses to identify with and would prefer others use when talking to or about that individual.
Q. What are some commonly used designated personal pronouns?
Some people use pronouns not listed above (e.g. e, ey, and per), while others prefer not to use pronouns and would like their names to be used instead. You’re encouraged to share how you would like to be addressed.
Q. How do I pronounce these?
Q. Why is it important to respect designated personal pronouns?
You can’t always know what someone’s personal pronoun is by looking at them. Correctly using someone’s designated personal pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their humanity.
When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (or all of the above).
Q. What if I make a mistake?
It’s okay! Mistakes happen. If you use the wrong pronoun, acknowledge the mistake, correct it, and then move on. If you forget someone’s personal pronouns, follow the same protocol: acknowledge the mistake, correct it, and move on.
- Wikipedia’s Gender-specific and gender-neutral pronouns page
- My Pronouns includes tips on how to ask and share pronouns
- Practice with Pronouns provides examples of how to use pronouns
Mx: General-neutral pronoun and is used as a title for those who do not identify as being of a particular gender, or for people who simply don’t want to be identified by gender.
Pronounced to sound like mix or mux
Mr: A title used before a surname or full name to address or refer to a man without a higher or honorific or professional title
Pronounced like mister
Ms: A title that can be used for all adult women without commenting on whether she’s single/married
Pronounced like mizz
Miss: A title used before the surname or full name of an unmarried woman
Pronounced phonetically and rhymes with “this”
Mrs: A title for a married woman
Pronounced like miss-iz, miz-iz or miss-iss and are all correct pronunciations