The Human Truth Foundation

Hir and Hirself
Gender-Neutral Pronouns in English

By Vexen Crabtree 1999

#china #christianity #english_language #france

Hir is a short word for "His/Her" or "Him/Her". It fulfils the need in English for a gender-neutral pronoun for situations where someone's gender is unknown at the time of writing.

Instead of writing the awkward sentence "Where is his/her file?" write "Where is hir file?".

Many other languages (such as Cantonese, Chinese and French) have a word that means "him/her" or "she/he". There is no easy way to shorten (s)he, so I accept "(s)he" as a good enough construct. Proposals for a gender-neutral pronoun have been one of the most common elements of English reform.

There are many wild suggestions out there to fix these problems, hir is one of the most textually aesthetic. Its drawback is that there is a tendency to pronounce it exactly the same as "her".


Unworkable alternatives: