Personal Pronouns in English Grammar

Introduction

We use personal pronouns to replace nouns. We use them to refer to people and things that have already been mentioned. They reflect person, number and gender. Personal pronouns can be the subject or object of a sentence, although they have different forms.

Learn to use personal pronouns in English grammar with Lingolia’s online grammar rules. In the exercises, you can practise what you have learnt.

Example

I’ve got a girlfriend. She is very nice and I love her very much. I’ve also got a guitar and I’d like to play a song on it for her right now:

Although it is raining, you make me feel so good.
Yeah, yeah!
Girl, we are the perfect couple.
Do you love me as much as I love you?
Yeah, yeah!

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Overview of English Personal Pronouns

The table below provides an overview of English personal pronouns.

singular plural
1st person 2nd person 3rd person 1st person 2nd person 3rd person
subject I you he she it we you they
object me you him her it us you them

Usage

  • Use first person pronouns I/we to talk about yourself in singular or plural.
    Example:
    I have got a girlfriend.
    We are the perfect couple.
  • Use second person pronouns to address other people.The second person pronoun you is the same in singular and plural.
    Example:
    Do you love me as much as I love you?
  • Use the third person personal pronouns he/she/it to refer to people and objects in the singular and they for the plural. Third person pronouns can also replace previously mentioned noun.
    Example:
    I have got a girlfriend. She is very nice and I love her very much.
    My friends are all single but they are happy.

    Make sure it is clear which noun you are replacing. When in doubt, it’s better to repeat the noun.

  • The pronoun it can also be used in impersonal constructions.
    Example:
    It’s raining.

Personal Pronoun as Subject or Object

There are two kinds of personal pronouns: subject pronouns and object pronouns. The table below shows and overview of English subject and object pronouns.

  • We use subject pronouns to replace the the subject. The subject of the sentence is normally the person or thing that is performing the action.
    Example:
    I’d like to play a song.
    You make me feel so good.
  • We use object pronouns to replace the the object. The object is the person or thing that is the direct recipient of the action.
    Example:
    I love her.
  • We also use object pronouns after prepositions.
    Example:
    I’d like to play a song on it for her right now.

Gender

Only third person singular pronouns show gender in English. We use he/him for men and she/her for women. The third person plural pronouns they/them are used as gender neutral pronouns in the singular and it is used for everything else. However, there are some exceptions:

  • use he or she for animals when we have a personal connection to them, for example, pets.
Example:
I’ve got a cat. Her name is Mouse.
  • use it when the gender of the animal is not known or there is no personal connection.
Example:
Be careful, there’s a bee! It flew in through the window.
  • sometimes she is used to refer to cars, ships and countries, however, most people use it.
Example:
Look at that old sailing boat in the harbour, isn’t it/she beautiful!