A friend of mine is practicing Japanese and created the sentence 私は女の人ではありません。私も男の人ではありません intending to say "I am not a woman, I am also not a man"

I offered to improve the sentence as 私は男でも女でもありません, still a little stiff but sounds more natural at least to my ears. Which got me wondering. I know that you should not use plain 男/女 to refer to others because that is rude, which this question talks about, but what about using them to refer to yourself, is that fine? Does that sound more natural than using の人?

Furthermore, if I were talking about someone else, and I said 僕の友人は男の人でも女の人でもありません does that sound reasonably natural (albeit stiff). Furthermore does 僕の友人は男でも女の人でもありません flow better, or is it just unnatural or ungrammatical?

Thank you!


私は男でも女でもありません is perfectly fine.

  • When you refer to yourself, you don't have to add の人.
  • Even when you refer to someone else, 男/女 tends to sound safe when used predicatively, because you are clearly focusing on one's gender in such a case. It is literary or rude when used as a simple noun (as a subject, object, etc):

    • あの人は男です。: fine
      (男性/女性です is better if you need to speak politely)
    • 昨日見た女: literary/rude
    • あそこにいる男と話そう。: literary/rude
  • that makes a lot of sense to me and is consistent with my intuition. thank you! – Janusz ヤヌシュ Jan 23 at 12:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.