Preferred Gender Pronouns

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • gender: the state of being male or female (or both/neither)
  • neutral: not identifying with a specific group
  • grammarian: a person who understands the system of the language, and fights to hold onto the rules
  • ze: an alternative singular pronoun for people who do not identify as male or female

Preferred Gender Pronouns

In English, males are identified with the pronouns he/his/him and females are with she/hers/her. Without a gender neutral pronoun, the plural gender neutral pronoun they has become an accepted word to take the place of his or her. Some grammarians still dislike the singular use of they and consider it incorrect in written or formal English. However, there is a need for a gender neutral singular pronoun for people who do not identify as male or female. In fact, some English now ask students to identify PGP (preferred gender pronoun). Instead of choosing he or she, some students choose name only or a suggested alternative, such as ze.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What is a PGP?
  2. What do some grammarians dislike?
  3. What is ze used for?

Discussion Questions: Should English have a singular gender neutral pronoun that is not “they”? If yes, what should it be, and why?

show Answers

6 Comments on Preferred Gender Pronouns

  1. Gina says:

    I haven’t realized that we use PGP in usual life,so I was shocked. I think we don’t need PGP. If we don’t use it, the world will change a lot from a gender role problem.

  2. Priscila says:

    I think we don’t need to have PGP. People are free to be called whatever they want.

  3. Cazibe says:

    I think english doesn’t need to have singular gender neutral pronoun. İt depends on the person feeling and what they want us to call them he or she.

  4. Bijan says:

    Hi Tara,

    Firstly, thanks for this nice subject that you have explained for your students.

    Secondly, I use Cambridge Dictionary that has both pronunciation of US and UK. I have found the pronunciation of US more difficult than UK.
    Thus the pronunciation of UK is very easy for me.

    In addition, I have seen you pronounce words to UK in your news reports. For example the word of “neutral” you have pronounced to UK in above subject.

    If I’m incorrect, please tell me.

    Thanks and best wishes,
    Bijan from the Persian Gulf,

  5. Bijan says:

    Dear Tara,

    Today, I found Interesting Facts for the first time on English Club.

    I saved them for my listening because it isn’t good and I should improve it.

    Thanks and best wishes,

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