It’s becoming increasingly common for people to share their pronouns as a standard practice on everything from job applications to email signatures to social media bios. With LGBTQ+ Pride Month underway, we’re using this week’s newsletter to address how talking about pronouns sometimes comes with an adjective that we could do without.
You’ve probably seen or heard it: “preferred pronoun,” as in, “What are your preferred pronouns?” or, “Please list your preferred pronouns.” While we appreciate the intention behind this phrase, adding “preferred” does more harm than good.
First, it does little to clarify the question. “What are your pronouns?” is just as easily understood. Second, just as it’s standard to say “sexual orientation” instead of “sexual preference,” we should avoid casting someone’s identity as a mere preference.
So next time, just say or write “pronouns.” Everyone will understand what you mean, and you’ll avoid an unintended implication.
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