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Personal pronouns

Level: beginner

We have both subject pronouns and object pronouns:

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

We use subject pronouns as the subject of a 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.

Be careful!

English clauses always have a subject.

His father has just retired. > He was a teacher. (NOT Was a teacher.)
I'm waiting for my wife.She is late. (NOT Is late.)

The imperative, which is used for orders, invitations and requests, is an exception:

Go away.
Please come to dinner tomorrow.
Play it again, please.

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

We use object pronouns as the object of a 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.

and 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.

Subject and object pronouns 1


Subject and object pronouns 2


he, she and they

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?
You could go to a doctor. They might help you.
Talk to a friend. Ask them to help you.

he, she and they 1


he, she and they 2


you and they

We use you to talk about people in general, including the speaker and the hearer:

You can buy this book everywhere. = This book is on sale everywhere.
You can't park here. = Parking is not allowed here.

We use they/them to talk about institutions and organisations:

They serve good food here. (they = the restaurant)
Ask them for a cheaper ticket. (them = the airline)

especially the government and the authorities:

They don't let you smoke in here. 
They are going to increase taxes.
They are building a new motorway. 
They say it’s going to rain tomorrow.

you and they 1


you and they 2



We use it to talk about ourselves:

  • on the telephone:

Hello. It's George.

  • when other people cannot see us:

It's me. It's Mary. (Mary is knocking on the door.)

We also use it to talk about other people:

  • when we point people out for the first time:

Look. It's Paul McCartney.
Who's that? I think it's John's brother.

  • when we cannot see someone and we ask them for their name:

Hello. Who is it? (someone answering the phone)
Who is it? (someone about to answer the door)





Please help me when we use (didn't ) ? Thank for your kindly replie.

Hello Seng Poline,

'Didn't' is the contracted form of 'did not', and is used to form negatives in the past simple:

I went there yesterday.
I didn't go there yesterday.

I worked in Spain in the summer.
I didn't work in Spain in the summer.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you. You can find more about past simple forms (including questions and negatives) here:

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

thank you for very useful information i understood very well

hi everyone! how are you today?

I have a problem with the following question...
"Have you talked to a lawyer ? they can tell you your rights "
As I heard, "They" is a plural pronoun.So can we use that pronoun instead of 'a lawyer' (singular noun) ?

Hello Thiran kavinda,

In English we often use 'they' as a gender-neutral singular pronoun - i.e. one we can use instead of 'he' or 'she' when we do not know or do not want to say if it is a man or a woman that we are talking about. We can also say simply 'he or she', but this is often seen as inelegant and clumsy, stylistically, especially if we need to use it several times in one sentence or text.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

I wanted to talk to someone in charge and tell____how i left.
my answer is [him], why wrong?

Hi MiyukiLiaw,

In the explanation above, you'll see:

"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'."

Since we don't know if the person in charge is a man or a woman, "him" is not generally considered correct here - "them" is the correct answer.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

The sentence - We're going for something to eat.... should say We're going OUT for something to eat, shouldn't it?

Hi redandblue,

It's difficult to say for sure without knowing the context, but for me, "we're going for something to eat" could possibly mean "we're going to get something to eat," which could possibly mean that these people will go get some food and then bring it home to eat it there.

It could also, however, mean the same thing as "we're going out for something to eat," which means these people will get and eat the food out of their home.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team