Pronouns are words we use in the place of a full noun.

We have both subject and object pronouns:

 

Subject Object
I me
you you
he him
she her
it it
we us
you you
they them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We use he/him to refer to men, and she/her to refer to women. When we are not sure if we are talking about a man or a woman we use they/them.

This is Jack. He’s my brother. I don’t think you have met him.
This is Angela. She’s my sister. Have you met her before?
Talk to a friend. Ask them to help you.
You could go to a doctor. They might help you.

Subject pronouns

We use subject pronouns as subject of the verb:

I like your dress.
You are late.
He is my friend
It is raining
She is on holiday
We live in England.
They come from London.

 

Warning

Remember: English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. Was a teacher. > He was a teacher.
I’m waiting for my wife. Is late.  > She is late.

If there is no other subject we use it or there. We call this a dummy subject.

 

 Object pronouns

 We use object pronouns:

• as the object of the verb:

Can you help me please?
I can see you.
She doesn’t like him.
I saw her in town today.
We saw them in town yesterday, but they didn’t see us.

• after prepositions:

She is waiting for me.
I’ll get it for you.
Give it to him.
Why are you looking at her?
Don’t take it from us.
I’ll speak to them

Exercise

Comments

I think there are two mistakes in the description, you used her/his to refer to ( women,men) which are proular an opposite way with they/them with singal.

We use he/him to refer to (men?) Is this right not man, and she/her to refer to (women?) Is this right not woman. When we are not sure if we are talking about a man or a woman we use they/them.

Hello again Dado,

I think I see what your question is now -- I'm sorry I didn't understand the first time. You are right that 'he' and 'him' can only refer to a singular man, but since they can refer to any man, we say 'men' on this page. I expect this sounds strange to you, but it is natural in English.

The same thing is true of 'she' and 'her' -- they are used to refer to only one woman, but since they can refer to any woman, we say 'women' in our explanation.

I hope I've answered your question now -- please let me know if not.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dado,

Yes, that is right.

For men we use he/him

For women we use she/her

For things we use it

For people when we do not know the gender or do not want to specify a gender we use they/them.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dado,

Thanks very much for taking the time to tell us about an error you found. Could you please explain in more detail where it is? I don't see the error you mention. Thanks in advance for your help.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

these are superb

1.One / A person should not drive car when (he/she )/they (is)/are drunk. - How to write this correctly?
2.If a person goes for shopping, the brand names which they know will automatically come up in their minds. - Here, just like previous sentence, initially it states about single person but with use of "they", the statement gets converted as if the subject was plural.

Hello akm,

When we want to speak in general terms and not specify the gender of the person we are talking about, we use 'they' with a plural verb. It is possible to write 'he or she' ('she or he') but this is rather clumsy, especially if we need to repeat it.

In your first sentence, therefore, I would use '...when they are drunk'. The second sentence is perfectly fine. It's quite normal to switch from 'a person' to 'they' in this way.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your guidance.
I would like to ask few more questions on above,
1. Can I use the same kind of structure (a person + they are) in IELTS essay?
2. In the second sentence, I have one more doubt - should I use "in their mind" / "in their minds"? Of course, the 2nd clause is now plural but if I write "in their mind" considering "a person" as the main subject I am referring to, then will it be considered a grammar mistake?
3. Will it be more appropriate to use "people" instead of "a person" in the second sentence to avoid handling gender ambiguity?
I also want to add that I really appreciate the lessons explained above which are very helpful because they are quite clear and thus, easy to understand.

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