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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?

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