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In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase. It is a particular case of a pro-form. In the context of transgender issues, pronouns refers to third person personal pronouns.


Personal pronouns may be classified by person, number, gender and case. English has three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural); in the third person singular there are also distinct pronoun forms for male, female and neuter gender.

First person pronouns (I, me) have no gender, and second person pronouns (you, your) have no gender, so are the same for everyone regardless of gender identity. Third person pronouns may vary based on the gender of the person you're talking about.

Non-binary people's pronouns

In a 2016 survey of over 3,000 non-binary people, the top five pronouns participants were happy for people to use for them were:[1]

  • Singular they/them: 77.5%
  • She/her: 25.0%
  • He/him: 23.4%
  • Mix it up: 12.2%
  • None/avoid pronouns: 11.0%

In this survey people were able to select more than one pronoun each. There were participants who chose one set of gendered pronouns (she/her, he/him), and participants who chose both. This is notable because it illustrates that pronouns and gender are not necessarily linked, and it is fairly common to prefer gendered pronouns as a non-binary person.

The most popular neopronoun was xe/xem/xyr/xyrs/xemself at 9.7%.


  1. NB/GQ Survey 2016 - the worldwide results, Nonbinary Stats, March 2016

See also