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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)






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Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

You could go to a doctor. They might help you.
You could go to a doctor. he might help you

Hello Amr alhefnawy,

As I said in my answer below, if we do not know the gender of the person then 'they' ('them', 'their' etc) is the best option. Here, the doctor could be a man or a woman and so we would say 'they'. If we were talking about a specific person then we would use 'he' or 'she', as appropriate:

You could go to see Dr. Brown. She might be able to help you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much for the helpful response.

Talk to a friend. Ask them to help you
Talk to a friend. Ask him to help you

Hello Amr alhefnawy,

The most common option is the first, with 'them'. You could also say '...ask him or her...' but it is rather clumsy in terms of style.

It is not incorrect to use 'him' (or 'her') here but we increasingly tend to avoid using gender-specific pronouns when we do not know the gender of the person, and this is why 'them' is the most likely choice here.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Is there an explanation of the rules in a video

Hello Zeinab Elsayed Mahmoud Ali,

There are a number of pages with videos which address the subject of pronouns. The best way to find them is to use the search facility. Just click on the magnifying glass icon at the top of the page (on the right) and type in 'pronouns'. Then look for pages with videos in the results. For example, this video is all about personal pronouns.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. I´m stard to learning inglish and I confused about use object pronouns.

Hi Mercy Brito,

Do you have an example of the kind of sentence you find difficult? We'll be happy to comment but we need some concrete example to do so.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team