All About Pronouns

Intro

Before we all dive into this fascinating topic, let me introduce myself first. You can call me Wren. I’m a writer. I write stories. I also identify as non-binary and I use they/them pronouns. This educational ramble will be based heavily on my own experiences but I don’t speak for all non-binary individuals. I just speak for myself and that’s all I can do. I will include some questions at the end for those who wish to contribute. The more info, the better!

So… what’s the deal with pronouns?

As you may have learned in grade school or elsewhere, pronouns take the place of a noun in a sentence. I think it’s mostly a stylistic thing to add ease when speaking. For example, look at how clunky this sentence is:

Bob pulled out Bob’s phone and called Bob’s mother to talk about the weather.

Instead, if you use pronouns, it can be written as the following:

Bob pulled out his phone and called his mother to talk about the weather.

Notice how that example used the he/him pronoun set, which are commonly seen as male/masculine pronouns. Third person pronouns are often gendered, and when you feel neither male or female, it can be frustrating. This leads some people to the practice of adopting they/them as a gender-neutral pronoun.

But wait! Isn’t they/them used for multiple people?

I see so many people try to argue that singular they is grammatically incorrect and to those people I say, screw off. Language is allowed to evolve and change. The more we normalize singular they, the more accepted it will be. Besides, people use singular they without even realizing it. Take a look at this image if you’re confused:

image

Why bother getting them right?

So, I’ve noticed there’s a bit of a knowledge gap when it comes to certain people and using the right pronouns. They may understand the concept and wish to be respectful but… they lack that deeper understanding on why pronouns are important. Since this is an education thread, I will let you all in on a little secret…

Come closer…

Closer…

Stop.

Pronouns are typically used when other people talk about us. I feel most comfortable when they/them pronouns are used for me because I know people know who I am. (Or at least they know the me that I want them to know but that’s a topic for another day and another thread.) Anyways, when the wrong pronouns are used, I feel as if that person is indirectly telling me and others that they know me better than they know myself – that they’re trying to define who I am. It just makes me uncomfortable. I also get dysphoria from time to time, which is absolutely horrendous and it tends to spike a bit when the wrong pronouns are used for me. I have to physically force myself to look away from the wrong pronoun usage and then bug someone else to help me fix it.

I also feel super self-conscious about having to correct people on their pronoun usage. I’ve seen plenty of attack helicopter memes and it makes me feel silly to constantly remind people who are clearly making an effort to edit their posts. Like I know my gender identity is valid now (something I struggled with a ton in my younger years) but I still feel… awkward when I correct people. I even have my pronouns in my profile on here and I still have to correct people sometimes. So… the fear of being annoying is there. But it is very important to me for people to get my pronouns right. It matters to me, no matter how silly it may seem. Pronouns are important.

Anywho, I hope that helped some of you understand pronouns on a deeper level. If you still have any confusion or want to ask me questions, feel free to reach out to me. I also don’t mind giving some tips to those who wish to write more non-binary characters because representation is important. So is doing your research. :dizzy:

Questions

Now, then, let’s get into some questions. You’re welcome to answer them, whether you are non-binary or otherwise. These are just to get a conversation rolling and so I don’t have to keep bumping this thread every few days to stay relevant. Feel free to use this thread to ask your own questions, too, as long as you’re respectful about it. I am really not in the mood to debate my gender identity here or anywhere really.

  1. What pronouns do you use?
  2. How do you feel when the right pronouns are used for you?
  3. How do you feel when the wrong pronouns are used for you?
  4. Anything else about pronouns you feel like sharing?
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Thank you for sharing a thread like this! You shared a point of view I don’t personally hear about a lot, and I’m happy to learn some more about people out there!

  1. What pronouns do you use? She/Her

  2. How do you feel when the right pronouns are used for you? To be fully honest, I never really acknowledge them, ahaha. I’ve never really cared if someone called me a he or a she, and I’ve always just rolled with whatever they said. Some people online think I’m male, others don’t. Never felt a need to correct them for the most part, but sometimes I will if there’s a humor factor involved. I guess my gender itself hasn’t ever really been important to my identity, at least to how people refer to me. If they’re trying to pin harmful stereotypes on me because my gender, then it’ll be a different story lol.

  3. How do you feel when the wrong pronouns are used for you? I think I covered this above too.

  4. Anything else about pronouns you feel like sharing? I do feel like my personal mindset has always made me wonder why it’s important for other people to have their pronouns acknowledged properly. That’s one reason why I appreciate you sharing this here on the forum - it gives me an inside into someone’s mind who’s different, and now I can sympathize better with a people who have different ways of identifying themselves than I do. I’ve always been someone who wants to try and see all of the perspectives on an issue. I don’t always do the best job, so the more I know the better :slight_smile: I’m excited to see the other perspectives that will likely pop up from this conversation.

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i usually use they/he! but i’m experimenting with neopronouns.

the neopronouns i’m experimenting with are
ae/aer and h3/h1m!

i feel good about having people use the pronouns i like, but if someone doesn’t know that i’m trans and uses she/her, i’m not gonna get upset.

if they use the wrong pronouns purposely, they’re gonna get smacked.

i also prefer feminine terms (like girlfriend, girl, lady, miss, mama, etc)

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Thank you for doing this, I sometimes struggle with pronouns since I’m new to this. But I try my best to remember and be respectful to other people~

  1. What pronouns do you use?

For me, it’s Any/all. I don’t really care about what you call me, and I like feeling masculine sometimes when people call me a he/him, but I’m mostly a she/her

  1. How do you feel when the right pronouns are used for you?

Since I don’t really care and it’s not a huge problem for me, I just go with it.

  1. How do you feel when the wrong pronouns are used for you?

I tend to be more feminine, but I have some boyish qualities to me. If I sound like a girl to you, go with she/her. If I sound like a boy, go with he/him. Whatever makes you comfortable, I’m fine with either,

  1. Anything else about pronouns you feel like sharing?

Not everyone is educated on this topic and I feel like you’re awesome for sharing all this!

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I very much agree with this!

Also, I’d like to contribute by answering questions!

I use she/her.

Respected. Like, woah, you payed attention and care enough to refer to me as I want to be referred too. Thank you!

Very confused.
I am fine with they/them since it’s neutral. But sometimes, I have been referred to as he/him and I was very confused. Like, I get you may get assumptions, but please, please, check before choosing pronouns. Or at least use they/them if you don’t want to ask / can’t ask.

I understand that some people maybe don’t want to ask about pronouns I was one of those, I thought it was rude. But, what is actually rude is using wrong pronouns. When in doubt, ask!

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So long as it’s pronounceable, I’m fine with any.

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I just want to let you know that you can ALWAYS correct me if I mess up, I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. And that applies to everyone bc I’m sure I’ll mess up somewhere

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Thanks for the nice topic badge, everyone. I’m glad you all appreciate this thread. :pleading_face:

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no problem love!!

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  1. He/him and they/them are fine.
  2. They’re both acceptable.
  3. I used to receive she/her by accident when I had long hair and didn’t mind it. But avoiding she/her is equal to avoiding confusion, so just don’t.

And avoiding confusion is a big concern of mine, so…

  1. I personally wish the verbs around the pronouns we used would change based on singular/plural. The singularization of the they set can be viewed as problematic in the same way that singularization of our second-person pronouns is. “You” gets tricky when used for plural, despite that that was its use in Old English (then pronounced more like “ye”). What we end up with is a set of pronouns ill-equipped to handle the level of clarity we typically want from conversation (let alone writing), and so dialectical work-arounds are used that further split the English-speaking world.
    What I want (and know is impossible) is for “is, has, etc” to always apply to singular, while “are, have, etc” only apply to plural.

Ex. “They’s really funny” (singular) vs. “They’re really funny” (plural).
“Is you gonna come?” (singular) vs. “Are you gonna come?” (plural).
“I’s had it” (singular) vs. “I’ve had it” (archaic because why do we say it like that anyway?).

There’s still a slight issue with this, though.

Ex. “They/you should come!” (Singular? Plural? No idea without context or specification).

Which is why I kinda advocate for a new set of third- and second-person pronouns. I’d personally pitch thiy/thim/thir/thirs/thimself (replacing E with I makes it look singular imo), and the reintroduction of thou/thee/thy/thine/thyself (modified simply to thou/thou/thour/thours/thourself).

But anyway, I also understand that identifying people appropriately is important to the individual’s feelings. So, knowing full well my solutions will never be applied by the majority, I can at least concede to the popular solution knowing that it’s still a step up from not changing at all.

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Genius.

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Can you clarify what you’re asking here?

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Ah, okay. I’m not sure since I don’t use neo pronouns, but good luck finding out.

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All/Any except He/Him but love Sir

It’s a fleeting moment of awe you care then I get over it since im a binary water bender

I haven’t been called He since I was a kid idk

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i use neopronouns but people usually call me they/them or he/him.
i’m not opposed to she/her but that’s for family.

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So you’d like to be knighted one day?

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lol no different sir

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This was so funny :joy:

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Since this is somewhat relevant, I thought I’d mention it here:

I recently completed a story where the main character uses they/them pronouns and so far, I think the audience has been really respectful of it. I’m thrilled about how well it went and I hope to write more they/them using characters in the future, too. I wrote this one in first person to make it easier on myself but I may try third person in the future, no matter how hard it sounds. I’ve heard people have been getting around the ambiguity* by using context clues in their writing. (*sometimes people don’t know if it’s singular or plural they)

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I remember some tips I read somewhere else where you can rephrase/adjust a sentence to make it sound better with pronouns (or is it without? I forgot)

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