Neopronouns: everything you need to know to use them correctly

Vitto Ginevri

Whether you do not know what neopronouns, have only heard of them in passing or have a friend who uses them, it is important to be aware of what they are and how to use them correctly. It is good to familiarise yourself with using these- more people than you might think use neopronouns, and it is only respectful to refer to someone as they wish you to.

The importance of neopronouns was highlighted by the publisher of LGBTQ Children’s book press Flamingo Rampant, S. Bear Bergman. Bear says,

“Using multiple pronouns (such as both “they” and “he” pronouns) or neopronouns like hir/hirs (usually pronounced like “here/hears”) can be a way to give people some room around their own gender identity; a way to help people feel more comfortable or confident; and a clear indicator of what pronoun is never acceptable in relation to them.”

 

What are neopronouns?

Neopronouns are any sets of singular third-person pronouns that are not officially recognised in the language they are used in, unlike she/her, he/him or they/them. They are often gender neutral, and commonly used by trans or gnc (gender non-conforming) individuals.

Though neopronouns are usually gender neutral, it is important to note that one’s pronouns, as they are words used in place of someone’s name, do not imply gender.

Unlike some might think, neopronouns are not actually new. It is thought that the first set of neopronouns was created in 1858 by Charles Crozat Converse (thon/thons).

 

Who uses neopronouns, and why?

Neopronouns are used by anyone who feels a complicated relationship with gender- some prefer using these as an alternative gender-neutral pronoun set because they want to avoid the confusion of they/them pronouns, because neopronouns express something about them and their gender, or because they feel more comfortable using neopronouns over any of the standard pronoun options.

Additionally, many neopronouns have been used by neurodivergent people, as they tend to have special relationships with gender. This is especially true for autistic people. An autistic person, 15, says “since we have trouble understanding gender the same way allistic people do, we use neopronouns for comfort in our identities.”

 

Common Neopronouns

Some common neopronouns- and how to use them- are the following:

(using the format, he/him/his/his/himself)

xe/xem/xyr/xyrs/xemself
fae/faer/faer/faers/faerself
ve/ver/vis/vis/verself
ae/aer/aer/aers/aerself
zie/hir/hir/hirs/hirself
per/per/pers/pers/perself
e/em/eir/eirs/emself

 

How are they used in sentences?

Exactly the same as the official pronouns would be! These are some examples:

  1. Xe/xem/xir
    1. Xe doesn’t want ketchup with zyr fries.
  2. Ze/hir/hirs
    1. Ze doesn’t want ketchup with hir fries.
  3. Fae/faer/faers
    1. Fae doesn’t want ketchup with faer fries.
  4. Ey/em/eir
    1. Ey doesn’t want ketchup with eir fries.

https://neopronoun.carrd.co/#index