We use pronouns all the time when we are referring to someone.
Personal pronouns are used to refer to a person, for example,
‘Sam wants his accommodation fees refunded’.
A person who identifies as female may use the pronouns she and her and a person who identifies as male may use the pronouns he and his.
Not everyone feels comfortable with the she / he pronouns and may wish to use other pronouns such as they or ze.
Use of the pronoun that a person states best reflects their identity is considered respectful, and the use of other pronouns could be disrespectful.
It is up to you whether you wish to share your personal pronouns publicly but it is now possible to do so in your staff profile and in your email signature.
These are some examples of personal pronouns and their Welsh equivalents that you can use in your profile or signature.
- She / her / her
- He / him / his
- They / them / their
- Ze / hir (or zir)
Best practice is to ask what pronouns people want to use and what they use themselves. Many meetings have this as part of an introduction round, e.g 'Hi I’m Ruth, Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Aberystwyth University. I use Miss or Ms and they or she as a pronoun.'
|Sentence part||Gendered example||Non-gendered example||Also in use (written / international – e.g. journals)|
|Subject pronoun||She / He laughed at the idea of running a marathon||They laughed at the idea of running a marathon||Zie
|Object pronoun||They tried to convince her / him that asexuality doesn’t exist||They tried to convince them that asexuality doesn’t exist||Hir
|Possessive adjective||His / Her favourite colour is unknown||Their favourite colour is unknown||Hir
|Possessive pronoun||The mug is his / hers||The mug is theirs||Hirs
|Reflexive pronoun||The manager thinks highly of herself / himself||The manager thinks highly of themselves||Hirself
|Titles||Miss, Mrs, Ms,
Here are some suggestions for when you are dealing with queries and don’t know someone’s pronouns:
Use a name rather than pronouns:
“Sam contacted us today with a query about accommodation fees; can you get back to Sam and provide the information please?”
Use non-gendered pronouns:
“Sam contacted us today with a question about the essay deadline: can you get back to them please?”
Depending on the nature of the email or message, this may be more complicated. However, it is better to use a name or non-gendered pronouns, than mis-gender someone, especially if you are sending on details to other people.
If you are sure of the pronouns, you should use these. However, don’t assume that you know a person’s pronouns based on the name the person uses or your knowledge of the person. Sometimes people will include their pronouns on their email signature so do check here.
Also, be aware that someone may change their pronouns even if you have dealt with them before. It is always better to use non-gendered pronouns or someone’s name if you aren’t 100% sure.