Question: The reflexive form of singular They

Someone asks…

I use they/them/their pronouns, and being a bit of a grammar nut, I need to know what the reflexive form of singular they is. “Themselves” sounds waaaaaaay too plural, and “themself” sounds really grammatically incorrect.

I guess I need other people’s opinions on this to allow myself to use “themself” without cringing.

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 27th, 2014 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 7 comments »

7 Responses to “Question: The reflexive form of singular They”

  1. radical/rebel

    their self?

    radical pronouns,


  2. Harley

    I think “themself” is good to use when talking about a specific person, but when using it with something more general such as “everyone”, I would use “themselves.”


  3. Anonymous

    I agree with Harley. Language is flexible, and realistically, many people neutralize people into “they/them” when the gender is uncertain or they’re talking about a hypothetical person. I could see in the near future the official language being updated to include “they/them” as valid 3rd-person pronouns. I personally use “themself” or “themselves” to refer to non-specific individuals.


  4. Adryrn

    I use themself and have no problem with it grammatically. I look at singular they as being similar to singular you (I’d never say “yourselves” when talking to one person, so I’d never say “themselves” when talking about one person.)


  5. fluffy

    I use “theirself.”


  6. Angelus Lupus

    I was going to say “themself”, but then I saw the suggestion of “theirself” and that just makes perfect sense, as it is literally their ‘self’ being referred to. It also fits, grammatically, with “yourself” (singular) and “yourselves” (plural).


  7. Jeremy

    I tend to use “themself,” but I’m not really sure why. It just sounds better to me. “Theirself” follows the pattern of “myself” and “yourself” more closely. (Most folks wouldn’t say “meself” or “youself”.)

    But honestly, part of why I personally prefer they/them is that it disrupts people’s normal speech patterns. It causes folks to pause and figure out which to say. As someone for whom no pronoun feels comfortable, I do find a certain amount of comfort (and power) in that disruption–in making someone’s process of gendering me more conscious and explicit. So maybe that’s why I like themself… it feels a little more awkward… a little more disruptive.


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