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What is a neopronoun?

While many languages have third-person pronouns without gender, English only has “they.” Some people oppose “they” for ideological reasons. Others want to explore pronouns beyond singular “they.”

Over many times and places, many people have created new third-person pronouns, which we will call “neopronouns.”

We don’t create new pronouns as often as we create new nouns or verbs, so many people struggle at first with neopronouns. However, the very existence of stories with neopronouns shows that neopronouns can be used with a little practice.

Some people might say that neopronouns aren’t real words because they aren’t in the dictionary, and because they aren’t real words, you shouldn’t use them. But the fact that these pronouns aren’t in the dictionary is irrelevant to whether or not you can use them in your writing. Dictionaries will always be slower than people’s creation of new words.

Examples of neopronouns

Table 3: Examples of neopronouns arranged by case.

This table only shows a tiny subsection of possible neopronouns. There are many more, and you can also create your own.


Read the instructions carefully and answer each question. Hover over the hint button to see full expanded notation for a pronoun. You can take this quiz as many times as you want.

Fill in the blanks using e/em pronouns.

I asked my friend to show me (1) favorite book. (2) took an illustrated hardcover down from the shelf and handed it to me. I read the blurb on the back, then handed the book back to (3) .

Fill in the blanks using ze/hir pronouns.

I'm at the bookstore to get a birthday present for my coworker. I know (1) likes art and gardening. None of these books look quite right for (2) . Wait, a coloring book with illustrations of plants! I'm sure (3) would like that.

Fill in the blanks using fae/faer pronouns.

I went to the ice cream shop with my sister. My favorite flavor is vanilla, but (1) is green tea. My sister paid for our treats. As we were leaving, some ice cream got on (2) shirt. (3) got some napkins to wipe (4) off.

Fill in the blanks using per pronouns.

I bumped into an old classmate at the grocery store today. We lost touch after (1) moved across the country all by (2) . It was so great to see (3) again!

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