two people sat talking

a quick guide to using pronouns

Pronouns are a part of everyday language – a lot of the time we use them without even thinking! Using the right pronouns is a way of showing respect for all gender identities.


Pronouns are the words we use to refer to someone without using their name. Pronouns are often associated with gender, but they don’t need to be (see how we used ‘their’ in that first sentence?).

Each person can decide which pronouns work for them. Using the wrong pronouns can be upsetting to gender non-conforming folks. But using the right ones shows respect.

3 tips for using pronouns:

 respect their choice

Everyone has their own pronouns and it’s important to respect one another’s.

There are many pronouns, but the most common are:

  • she/her – female identifying
  • he/him – male identifying
  • they/them – non-binary or gender-nonconforming

People may use one or a mixture of these. Other people may choose different ones entirely. But whatever they choose, we must respect that choice and use the words they use.

if you’re not sure, ask

It is never rude to ask what pronouns someone prefers.

Try not to assume someone’s pronouns based on how they look. It might feel strange, but it’s better to ask first instead of upsetting someone by assuming.

Introduce yourself to new people by sharing your pronouns first to make them feel more comfortable sharing theirs. You can also include your pronouns in email footers and social media bios.

Hi! my name is Rose and my pronouns are they/them!

it’s ok to make mistakes:

If you say the wrong pronoun, apologise and then use the correct one.

It’s human to make mistakes. So long as you say sorry and correct yourself, you are showing care and respect.

If you are in a group situation, sometimes it is better to apologise briefly and not dwell on the mistake in public. You may want to apologise again privately later. This way you won’t make someone feel awkward by drawing too much attention.