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?

1 Answer 1


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
  • Can 男/女の人 be used predicatively? Like 「私は女の人です」 or 「会長は男の人です」. Or does it sound weird? Oct 13, 2019 at 6:09
  • 1
    @E.Matsunaga 私は女の人です sounds weird because you are using の人 to yourself. 会長は男の人です is fine.
    – naruto
    Oct 13, 2019 at 18:54
  • That was exactly my doubt. Somehow using 「の人」 with myself sounded weird even to me. Oct 13, 2019 at 19:03

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