Pronouns Matter ECU

Pronouns Matter

Intercultural Affairs at East Carolina University values inclusive excellence, respect, advocacy, and person-centeredness.  Personal success is fostered in an environment where there is understanding and appreciation of cultural and human differences.  Everyone at ECU can now indicate a preferred first name, as well as personal pronouns.  Each one of us can contribute to a culture of respect by honoring the name and pronouns of an individual.

Using your preferred first name at ECU

At ECU, we strive to promote a diverse, respectful, and inclusive environment for the university community. We recognize that students, faculty, and/or staff may wish to use first names to identify themselves, other than their Legal First Name. In a good faith effort to put such individual preferences into effect within the university, the university has implemented this opportunity to allow individuals to update their Preferred First Name.

The MyName section of the ECU website explains how to indicate a preferred first name, where this name will show up, and where, by law, your legal name will continue to appear.

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are used in every day speech and writing to take the place of a noun.  Pronouns often imply a gender.  For example, she/her/hers and he/him/his are thought of as typically feminine and masculine, respectively.  Pronouns such as they/they/theirs offer a gender-neutral replacement of a noun.

Helpful resource:  Pronouns Matter

Why pronouns matter

Using someone’s correct pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show respect—always use the pronouns that people use to refer to themselves.

Introducing yourself with your pronouns is a great way to challenge the norm that pronouns can be assumed based on presentation or expression.  Pronouns can easily be shared by adding to your email signature and/or syllabus. In-person or over the phone, this can be done simply by creating space to share your pronouns when introducing yourself to others.  For example, “Hello there, my name is Taylor and I use they/them/theirs pronouns.”

Helpful Resource: Why Pronouns Matter

Gender Neutral Pronouns

In 2019, Merriam-Webster officially the use of “they” as a singular non-gender-specific pronoun.

Helpful Resource: Merriam-Webster “They” as a nonbinary pronoun

The American Psychological Association Style and Grammar Guidelines state specifically “use of the singular ‘they’ is endorsed as part of APA Style because it is inclusive of all people and helps writers avoid making assumptions about gender.”

Helpful Resource:  Singular use of They

Using Pronouns

People may choose to use a variety of pronouns. Below is a list of some commonly used pronouns and how they are used:

SubjectObjectPossessivePossessive PronounReflexive
"He studied""I called him""His pencil""That is his""He trusts himself"
"She studied""I called her""Her pencil""That is hers""She trusts herself"
"They studied""I called them""Their pencil""That is theirs""They trust themselves"
Ze (or Zie)HirHirHirsHirself
"Ze studied" ("zee")"I called hir" ("heer")"Hir pencil""That is hirs""Ze trusts hirself"
"Ey studied" ("ay")"I call em" ("em")"Eirs pencil" ("airs")"That is eirs""Hu trusts eirself" ("airself")
"Xe studied" ("ze")"I called Xyr" ("zers")"Xyrs pencil""That is xyrs""Xe trusts xyrself"
"Hu studied" ("hju")"I called hum" ("hum")"Hums pencil""That is hums""Hu trusts humself"
"Per studied""I called per""Pers pencil""That is pers""Hu trusts perself"
Name Only
"Taylor studied""I called Taylor""Taylors pencil""That is Taylor's""Taylor trusts Taylor"

Thank you to the UNC Greensboro Office for Intercultural Engagement for providing the model for this resource page.