Organized by Pronoun


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Each pronoun is listed in alphabetical order. Links with a “#” sign before them mention the pronoun but generally don’t focus on it in depth.


American Heritage Book of English Usage: Epicene Pronouns: describes “a” as a Middle English epicene pronoun, still found in some British dialects.


Twin Oaks Visitor Guide: Lingo: The members of the Twin Oaks Intentional Community use “co” as a gender neutral personal pronoun, including in their official legal policies.


Long Story, Short Pier: Sexing the Pronoun: Kip Manley, while exploring current epicene pronouns, recalls hi/hir being relatively widespread as a gender-neutral pronoun in the 80s sci-fi scene.


Huh? A Pronoun That Goes Both Ways: D.N. DeLuna proposes to the Chronicle a new alternative pronoun: “hu.”


Introducing… Ne: Dr. Al Lippart proposes the pronoun ne/nis/ner, stating that it’s easy to understand and pronounce, follows male/female pronoun patterns without implying any gender itself, and doesn’t currently have any multiple meanings in English.

The Need for a Neuter Pronoun: A Solution: Roberta Morris also proposes ne/nis/ner, stating that the letter “n” is an underused initial letter in English, and can also stand for “neuter.”


Dicebox: A science-fiction webcomic that uses the pronoun “peh” both to refer to people of ambiguous gender and in formal contexts where gender is considered unimportant. Though the objective case is listed as “pehm,” in the comic “peh” is used in both the nominative and objective cases. Contains mature themes.


Gender Free Pronouns: Katherine Phelps compares the use of different gender-free pronouns in a passage of The Odyssey for use in her computer-mediated story, Odysseus, She. After comparison, she decided to use phe/per/pers when referring to the deities in her story.


‘Under God’ Iconoclast Looks to Next Targets: Mike Newdow proposes the use of “re” “erm” and “rees” as gender-neutral pronouns to the New York Times. (Only introduction and concluding paragraph are related.)


#Footnotes: Pronouns: The author notes that sie/hir was one of the first gender-free pronoun sets to be adopted on the internet, but dismisses it because of its close similarities to “she” and it having the same pronunciation as several already-existing English words.

#Gender Free Pronouns: Katherine Phelps compares sie/hir to other popular invented pronouns and decides against using it since it could be pronounced just the same as she/her, which defeats the purpose of a new pronoun.

#Regender: A “translator” which will switch the genders of subjects on any given website – swapping honorifics and common names as well as pronouns. Once you enter a URL into the program, you can choose to see any page with Spivak pronouns (ey/eir/em), sie/hir, singular “they,” or Douglas Hofstadter’s racially-gendered pronouns by clicking buttons on the upper-right corner of the page.


Spivak (ey/em/eir):
Dirt Fugue: John Williams of the Gender-Neutral Pronoun FAQ wrote this short story using Spivak pronouns (ey/em/eir) along with a lowercase “i.”

Spivak pronoun: Wikipedia’s entry on the Spivak pronoun (ey/em/eir) has some interesting information on its usage in text-based multiplayer games.

#Footnotes: Pronouns: The author mentions that Spivak has an advantage over other forms since it is derived from an already-existing gender-free pronoun but can still clarify between singular and plural when “they” cannot. While noting that “em” can be confused with “him,” the author considers this excusable since it isn’t actually derived from anything male, and decides that because of this and because Spivak is relatively well-known in several communities, it is eir preference at the time of writing.

#Gender Free Pronouns: Katherine Phelps compares Spivak to other popular invented pronouns and decides against using it since “em” is easily confused with both informally-written “them” and “him,” and concludes that they are “far too exotic to be anything but jarring.”

#Regender: A “translator” which will switch the genders of subjects on any given website – swapping honorifics and common names as well as pronouns. Once you enter a URL into the program, you can choose to see any page with Spivak pronouns (ey/eir/em), sie/hir, singular “they,” or Douglas Hofstadter’s racially-gendered pronouns by clicking buttons on the upper-right corner of the page.


Spivak (original) (e/em/eir)
Doom Patrols: A theoretical fiction about postmodernism and popular culture. The Original Spivak pronoun (e/em/eir) is used when talking about a general person or hypothetical person.


ee: He, She, and It: Jed Hartman talks about his usage of “ta,” an epicene pronoun borrowed from Mandarin Chinese, as part of the greater context of epicene pronouns and the challenges that come along with not having any universally acceptable ones.


Viewpoints from Involvement — “Thon”: Introduces “thon” as a pronoun and delves into the history of its usage.


Orphanogenesis: An excerpt from Greg Egan’s novel Diaspora using ve/ver/vis for asex characters. – ve, vis, ver: Explains the ve/ver/vis pronoun and shows an excerpt of it being used in Greg Egan’s science fiction novel, Distress.


“xe”, “xem”, and “xir” are sex-neutral pronouns and adjectives: Argues for xe/xem/xir as the best sex-neutral pronoun and addresses problems with both the Spivak pronoun and sie/hir/hirs.


A discussion about Theory of Mind: From an Autistic Perspective: A discussion among members of the Autism Network International mailing list about Theory of Mind. Xe/xem/xyr is used occasionally when writing about “someone” or “a person” in the general sense.

xe – Wikitionary: Wikitionary’s entry on the xe/xem/xyr pronoun, including several examples of usage.


A New Gender-Neutral Pronoun in Baltimore, Maryland: A Preliminary Study: A scientific article on the use of “yo” as a gender-neutral pronoun among students in Baltimore, as reported in NPR below.

Grammar Girl: Yo as a Pronoun: Reiterates information found in the NPR article, ponders the future of the word, and expands on the information with an informal interview with Dr. Elaine Stotko, one of the researchers involved in the study.

Yo! A New Gender-neutral Pronoun: Dennis Baron of “The Epicene Pronouns” (above) studies the new pronoun “yo” while relating the history of English speakers’ efforts to introduce a gender-neutral pronoun through the ages. His article is posted on a website that isn’t his own, but the original doesn’t seem to be currently available online.

‘Yo’! Baltimore Kids Create a Pronoun: NPR reports on a phenomenon among Baltimore, MD middle- and high-school students to use “yo” as a gender-neutral third-person pronoun. Additional information is found in their blog, which is incorrectly linked in the article.


How transgender folk are fixing an age-old literary problem: Sarah Dopp introduces her audience to “ze” and “hir,” explains their usage, and describes their usefulness in filling in when “he” and “she” aren’t appropriate.

#Footnotes: Pronouns: While comparing ze/hir to other forms, the author expresses dislike of the starting “z,” and comments that rather than being truly gender-free, it has evolved to fit people of a “third gender,” one that is neither male nor female, and couldn’t easily be used on male or female cisgendered people.


Ze, Zer, Mer: Richard Creel proposes ze/mer/zer as a gender-neutral pronoun and depicts his own use of it when discussing God in his philosophy of religion courses.


Zhe, zher, zhim: Fred Foldvary proposes zhe/zhim/zher as a gender-neutral alternative to “he” or “she.”


Gender-Neutral Pronouns – The value of zie: Andrés Pérez-Bergquist expounds upon the usefulness of zie/zim/zir.


“Hermaphrodite Protagonist”: The Misreading of Bone Dance: Raphael Carter critiques reactions to Emma Bull’s book Bone Dance (spoilers for the book inside), using zie/zir.

#Gender Free Pronouns: Katherine Phelps notes that zie/zir is probably the best solution out of the ones she compared, but she decided against using it in Odysseus, She because she had difficulty with the z’s “soundliness,” and the ambiguities in the pronoun she chose weren’t likely to show up within her story.

#Long Story, Short Pier: Sexing the Pronoun: Kip Manley notes a friend’s usage of these pronouns for “a recent inamorate” as the introduction to a deeper look at epicene pronouns on the web and off it.


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