Is Calling Someone It Rude?

You see it in film and literature all the time: usually, a group of kids, laughing and pointing at an individual person and calling them “it”.

But, how realistic is this type of situation? Further, how rude is it to call someone rude? Read on below and find out!

Is Calling Someone It Rude?

The word “it” in English refers to objects, or things, not people. That means, by the very grammatical nature of it, calling someone it is incorrect. Even more, referring to someone as it, knowing what it means, is considered incredibly rude.

There is no excuse to call someone or refer to someone as “it”. If you don’t know what pronoun to use, don’t use a pronoun at all (and stick with the person’s name).

How Rude Is it?


Calling someone “it” rates 10 out of 10 on the rude meter. There are few insults that are generally more disrespectful than referring to someone as “it”. Traditionally, there are no circumstances where it isn’t considered rude to call someone it.

Why is it Rude?

Using the pronoun “it” for a person, whether male or female is equally rude. The proper way to refer to a male or female is as “he” or “she”. Calling someone “it” is considered an intentional form of disrespect or may even be interpreted as a personal attack.

Other Options to Do Instead

There is no excuse for calling someone “it”. Instead, consider one of these other options to do instead:

  • Ask someone what pronouns they like to be called by
  • Refer to men as he or him
  • Refer to females as she or her
  • Call the person by their name or known nickname

Again, if you are unsure of what to call someone remember that “it” is never the proper term. Rather, call them strictly by their first name.

Common Questions

Can you call someone it?

There are very few (if any) cases in which you will encounter someone that enjoys being called “it”. Just think of it, literally; the definition of it is a “thing”. When you call someone it, you are in essence calling them a thing (in other words, you are inferring that they are sub-human). It is very rude to call people it, no matter how strange or different they are to/from you.

Why shouldn’t you refer to someone as it?

Referring to someone as it is like slapping them in the face and calling them “thing”. When you use the word it, you are diminishing the character of the person you are referring to. Further, you are disrespecting them and their sex/gender (which no one of any age, sex, or gender appreciates).

When can you call someone it?

The only time that it is proper to use the pronoun “it” for a person is when they themselves have told you to call them that way. That’s right, some people enjoy being called “it” because they self-identify with the term. Using the term it at any other time is considered rude, uncalled for, and even hateful.