Pronouns on LinkedIn

If you use social media for networking, you might have noticed English pronouns on LinkedIn in brackets behind people's names, for example (She/Her) on my profile (log in, then click on "view profile"). The platform has introduced a field to help business partners use the correct pronouns and courtesy titles.

The pronouns on LinkedIn is an especially useful tool for international networking. Nobody wants to use the wrong pronoun! Even if your gender seems clear to you, it might not be clear to someone from a different country.

Here's one example I often mention in my English classes: When I was working in the U.S. in the early 2000s, I wrote an email to a woman in Germany named "Dagmar" by writing "Dear Mr. xxx". I had never heard of the first name before, and thought it was male. As you can probably imagine, it was very embarrassing and my boss was not terribly happy.

Checking which pronouns your professional contacts use is a good way to show your respect. Adding your own English pronouns on LinkedIn makes it easier for people who want to contact you.

LinkedIn's standard pronoun choices are She/Her (feminine), He/Him (masculine), and They/Them (non-binary). The platform also offers a “custom” option. Some common custom English pronouns on LinkedIn are

- Ze/Hir – similar to They/Them, Ze/Hir is a non-binary pronoun.

- Pronoun mixing such as “She/They”, which often means that someone prefers to be called the first pronoun (in this case “She”) but can also be called the second (“They”).

- Some people prefer just using their name with no pronouns at all.

To start an email to someone who uses just their name or non-binary pronouns, use their full name, for example "Dear John Smith,".

Want to learn more about writing emails and letters in English? Join one of our English classes!

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