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!

Advertisement

Usage

  • Personal pronouns in the third person replace a previously mentioned noun.
    Example:
    I have got a girlfriend. She is very nice and I love her very much.

    To avoid misunderstandings, it should always be clear which noun we are replacing (in case of doubt, it’s better just to repeat the noun).

  • The pronoun it can also be used in impersonal constructions.
    Example:
    It’s raining.
  • Personal pronouns in the first person are used when we’re talking about ourselves.
    Example:
    I have got a girlfriend.
    We are the perfect couple.
  • When we’re addressing other people, we use the personal pronoun in the second person.
    Example:
    Do you love me as much as I love you?

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.

singularplural
1st person2nd person3rd person1st person2nd person3rd person
subject I you he she it we you they
object me you him her it us you them
  • 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

Gender in English is simple, people are he or she and things are usually it but there are some exceptions. When we think animals have a personality, or we have a connection with them, for example pets, we can say he or she.

Example:
I’ve got a cat. Her name is Mouse.

When the gender of the animal is not known or the animal is not thought to have a personality we use it.

Example:
Be careful, there’s a bee! It flew in through the window.

We can use she for cars, ships and countries, however, most people use it.

Example:
Look at that old sailing boat in the harbour, isn’t it/she beautiful!