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Ben Leggiero's Blog

Ben's opinions on Pronouns.

tl;dr Gender-neutral pronouns should be easy to pronounce and recognize.

Problem

World culture is changing. People are now able to express themselves in non-binary ways. We now document everything, theoretically forever. It's easier and easier to be anonymous. Because of all this, we need a way to refer to people without assigning a gender to them.

The popular choice is to use "they" and "them". The problem with this is that it's nonspecific: It denotes a plurality, so it's not intuitive if one is referencing an individual or a group. A common argument for these is that William Shakespeare used them in his works. However, there are two distinct problems with this argument: The language was very different back then, and many of the words and phrases he used have since been discarded as part of his time period; There was no alternative available to him, and using a new term would confuse the audiences and distract from the captivation and immersion he carefully built.

Proposal

Subjective Objective Possessive determiner Possessive pronoun Reflexive
Self I Me My Mine Myself
Direct You Your Yours Yourself
Female She Her Hers Herself
Male He Him His Himself
My Proposal:
Non-gender
E Em Er Ers Emself
Group They Them Their Theirs Themselves
This Group We Us Our Ours Ourselves
Direct Group You Your Yours Yourselves
Southern U.S.
Direct Group
Y'all Y'all's Y'all's selves
Object It Its Itself