Gender Pronouns Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are linguistic tools that we use to refer to people. It is important to give people the opportunity to state the correct pronouns to use when referring to them. Pronouns should never be assumed.

Why are they important?

Asking your peers what pronouns they use and consistently using them correctly can make them feel respected.

How do I ask someone what pronouns they use?

Introduce yourself with your own pronouns and then ask theirs: “My name is Farah and I use they/them/theirs pronouns. What about you?”

What should I do if I make a mistake?

Correct yourself, but without making a big deal out of the situation.

Take an active role.

Some people may not want to attract a lot of public attention to their pronouns, while others will appreciate it if you stand up for them. For example, if someone uses the wrong pronoun for a person who isn’t present, try a brief correction: “I think Dylan uses she and her pronouns. And yes, I’m going to her house later too!”

Gender Pronouns

[Name][Name] laughedI called [name][Name]’s phoneThat is [name]’s[name] likes [name]’s self
SheShe laughedI called her Her phoneThat is hersShe likes herself
HeHe laughedI called himHis phoneThat is hisHe likes himself
TheyThey laughedI called themTheir phoneThat is theirsThey like themself
ZeZe laughedI called hirHir phoneThat is hirsZe likes hirself

If you have questions or want to learn more, stop by the QRC (Keefe 213) or email us at

Faculty and Staff Guide to Gender Pronouns

  • As a faculty or staff member, you are in a position of power. Asking for and using correct pronouns sets an example for students in your class and/or for your professional peers.
  • If other students, faculty, or staff are consistently using the wrong pronouns for someone, do not ignore it! Remind them of the correct pronouns and move on.
  • Educate yourself, your class, or department by requesting a Queer/Trans 101 Training or by requesting a consultation meeting with the director, Hayley Nicholas, or the assistant director, S. Gibson.
  • Email to have our staff deliver a workshop on queer and trans identities and ways of participating in active allyship.
  • Know the resources on campus that are available for queer and trans students. For example, students can enter pronouns on Workday and Moodle; request a new ID card free of charge with their chosen name; utilize their names and pronouns on internal documents (health center, counseling center, etc.); and much more.

Sample Script for Introducing Pronouns 

(developed in collaboration with WGC and CISE, Summer 2020) 

"Hi everyone, let’s please go around and introduce ourselves with our names, pronouns, (etc). If you do not use pronouns, please feel welcomed to say so. If you do not want to share or do not feel comfortable to, feel free to pass. For those of us who might not know why we ask for pronouns, doing so helps create space for our nonbinary and trans siblings by disrupting the assumptions we make about the pronouns we use for each other. Pronouns are words that take the place of a proper noun in speech or written word (give an example, and put it in simple sentences, i.e Marie went to the store. She said she would be right back. She had to buy herself some milk, after the milk her partner bought went bad). 
Note- Pronouns are gendered in a number of languages, including English, but not all. Similarly, the way pronouns are used and the meaning they carry can differ across languages.  At Amherst College, we often share our English pronouns, with the understanding that the pronouns that feel most fitting for some of us may be in another language and not so easily translated.
In languages with gendered pronouns, using a particular set of pronouns named by an individual (and not the ones we assume to be true) or respectfully only using a person's name and no pronouns, is a common way for us to affirm and acknowledge our own and other people's agency in determining how they would like to be addressed. Important, if/when you make a mistake and use the wrong pronoun for someone, apologize briefly (I'm sorry), correct yourself by stating the right pronoun, and move on."