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Personal Pronouns

What is a personal pronoun?

A personal pronoun is a pronoun that is associated primarily with a particular person, in the grammatical sense.

When discussing “person” in terms of the grammatical, the following rules apply:

  • First person, as in “I”
  • Second person, as in “you”
  • Third person, as in “It, he, she”

Personal pronouns may take on various forms depending on number (singular or plural for the most part). They may also take different forms depending on case, gender, or formality. It is important to note that personal pronouns may refer to objects, animals, or people.

Personal pronouns provide us with the following information:

  • The person – Who is speaking?
  • The number – Is the pronoun plural or singular?
  • The gender – Is the pronoun feminine, masculine, or neuter?

Examples of Personal Pronouns

The word “he” is an example of a personal pronoun. He is third person (because he is the person being spoken about), singular, and masculine. The word “we” is another example of a personal pronoun. We is first person (because we are speaking as a group), plural, and neuter. In the following examples, personal pronouns are italicized.

You need to stop lying to me.

We would love for you to join us.

Come look at my cat! He has climbed to the top of that tree.

Personal Pronoun Exercises

The following exercises will help you gain greater understanding about how personal pronouns work. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence.

  1. _____________ often reads until late at night.
    1. He
    2. Alan
    3. Mary
    4. They

Answer: A. He often reads until late at night.

  1. ____________ is running up and down the stairs.
    1. The cat
    2. She
    3. My brother
    4. You

Answer: B. She is running up and down the stairs.

  1. _______________ is from Ireland.
    1. Rory
    2. My friend
    3. He
    4. This souvenir

Answer: C. He is from Ireland.

  1. Have ___________ got a dog, Mary?
    1. Anyone
    2. They
    3. Someone
    4. It

Answer: B. Have they got a dog, Mary?

  1. We enjoy the roses so much. ___________ really liven up the garden.
    1. They
    2. Its
    3. Someone
    4. Flowers

Answer: A. We enjoy the roses so much. They  really liven up the garden.

What is a subject pronoun?

A subject pronoun is exactly what it sounds like: a pronoun that takes the place of a noun as the subject of a sentence.

Examples of Subject Pronouns

The subject, or subjective, pronouns are easy to remember: I, you, she, he, it, they, and we. These pronouns are used to replace the name of a person, animal, or object, and to do the action suggested by the verb in the sentence. In the following subject pronouns example sentences, the subject pronouns are italicized.

Should we go swimming before or after lunch?

I really like pizza.

It is easy to understand.

Would you prefer hot cocoa or peppermint tea?

They all lived happily ever after.

What is an Object Pronoun?

An object pronoun is a type of personal pronoun that is normally used as a grammatical object, either as the direct or indirect object of a verb, or as the object of a preposition. These pronouns always take the objective case, whether they are indirect object pronouns or direct object pronouns.

Examples of Object Pronouns

Objective pronouns are easy to remember: Me, him, her, us, it, you, them, whom, and what. While some of these pronouns are the same as subject pronouns, they are used differently in sentences. The  object pronouns in the following examples are italicized.

I want her to listen.

Stop laughing at me.

I told him to stay home and study instead of going out.

Comparing Subject and Object Pronouns

Use the following table to compare subject and object pronouns. Notice that some subject pronouns are identical to certain object pronouns.

Subject Pronoun Object Pronoun
It It
You You
What What
I Me
He Him
She Her
We Us
Who Whom
They Them