My pronouns are:

ey/em

(Elverson pronouns)

Example usage in sentences:

  • I think ey is very nice.
  • I asked em if I can borrow eir pencil.
  • Ey told me that the house is eirs.
  • Ey said ey would rather do it emself.
Coined by Christine M. Elverson in 1975 for a contest to create an alternative to the singular they. Those forms are created by dropping “th” from “they”.

Table:

Subject Object Possessive determiner Possessive pronoun Reflexive
ey /eɪ/ em /ɛm/ eir /ɛɹ/ eirs /ɛɹz/ emself /ɛmˈsɛlf/

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Examples from cultural texts:

Elverson pronouns (ey/em)

  • Judie BlackEy has a word for it (Chicago Tribune), 1975

    • For example, a speaker might use these new transgender pronouns when ey addresses an audience of both men and women. Eir sentences would sound smoother since ey wouldn’t clutter them with the old sexist pronouns. And if ey should trip up in the new usage, ey would have only emself to blame.
  • Sayuri UedaThe Cage of Zeus (Translated from Japanese by Takami Nieda), 2011; Takami Nieda refers to Spivak pronouns in the Translator's Note, although the Elverson pronouns are actually used.

    • The figure that stood before him was in eir early thirties with spindly arms and legs and slight features. Eir silken hair, cut evenly at the chin, shone as it moved. Although difficult to guess eir ethnic origin and not exactly beautiful, ey had strangely magnetic eyes. “My name is Tei,” ey said.
    • One of the Rounds, panic-stricken at the thought of being hit, began to run, pushing and shoving the others around em.
    • But Fortia twisted free from his grasp and threw emself against the terminal.

What's the deal with pronouns?

We all have pronouns. They're those words that we use instead of calling someone by their name every time we mention them. Most people use “he/him” and “she/her”, so we automatically assume which one to call them based on someone's looks. But it's actually not that simple…

Gender is complicated. Some people “don't look like” their gender. Some prefer being called in a different way from what you'd assume. Some people don't fit into the boxes of “male” or “female” and prefer more neutral language.

This tool lets you share a link to your pronouns, with example sentences, so that you can show people how you like to be called.

Why does it matter? Because of simple human decency. You wouldn't call Ashley “Samantha” just because you like that name more or because “she looks like a Samantha to you”. Or even if she does have the name “Samantha” in her birth certificate but she absolutely hates it and prefers to use “Ashley”. And it's the exact same story with pronouns – if you don't want to be rude towards someone, please address them properly. The only difference is that we usually know names, but not pronouns. We introduce ourselves with a name, but not pronouns. Let's change that!

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