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ChicagoCAC Pronoun Guide

You’ve probably heard about pronouns, maybe in grammar class or maybe in the context of gender identity. And you’ve definitely used pronouns without even realizing it, even for yourself.

According to Merriam Webster, pronouns are the third person personal pronouns (such as he/him, she/her, and they/them) that a person goes by. While you don’t usually talk about yourself in the third person, you definitely talk about other people that way. You might say something like, “my mom is making a cake this evening and she’s really excited about it”, or “my coworker Tad is supposed to be here for a meeting, but he let me know he’s running late” or “my best friend has a cat that they talk about all the time!” (yes, they can be a pronoun for one person…we’ll talk about why later, but Merriam Webster says so too.)

What do pronouns do?

  • They give other people information about what pronouns the people you are talking about use for themselves (if you’re using the correct pronouns for that person)
  • They can show respect for the person you’re talking about

They do not 

  • Necessarily imply a person’s gender identity
  • Make a political statement

Our new pronoun guide will help you understand the important of pronouns, how to use them correctly, what to do if you make a mistake, and provide further information and resources about pronoun usage and gender identity. Download the full PDF here.

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