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:

Stop!
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

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Subject and object pronouns 2

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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

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he, she and they 2

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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

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you and they 2

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it

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)

it

MultipleChoice_MTkxMTI

 

Comments

Thanks, helps me refresh my memory.

Hello,
Can someone explain me why in this sentence we use the word "they" and not just "he" ?
"Have you talked to a lawyer? they can tell you your rights."

Hello talia nave,

This is explained above, where it says:

When we are not sure if we are talking about a man or a woman we use they/them.

The idea is that a lawyer can be a man or woman. Since we don't know if the lawyer being talked about here is male or female, we say 'they'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

good and thanks

Hi,sir:
When we can use "They" instead of "he / she " ?
Thanks in advance

Hi Maha Leila,

Many native speakers now use 'they' instead of  'he/she', I suppose because it feels more natural to use an existing pronoun than a compound one (though I could be wrong about the reason). It's difficult to say exactly when this is or isn't appropriate, but I'd say that in most informal contexts, and even some semi-formal ones, it would be just fine.

I hope this helps. If you have a specific context in mind, please describe it to us.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
What is the different with Here and Over Here or there and over there, in the Task : Shall I put them over here ? it's possible to say Shall I put them here?

Best wishes

Hi medmomo,

'over here' shows that there is a distance between the listener and the speaker, whereas 'here' does not say anything about a distance. So 'over here' is more descriptive than 'here'.

For example, if you come to my desk and ask me, 'Where should I put this package?', I could say 'Put it here, please.' In this case, you are very near me and so saying 'over here' would sound strange. But if you are on the other side of a large room and ask me the same question, I could say 'Over here, please' to show that I recognise that you are coming across a distance to do this. Note that I don't have to say 'over here' in this case -- I could say 'here' and it would mean the same thing, it's just less specific.

Also please note that the distance we refer to when we say 'over here' is relative. It could be just a metre or two, or it could be a lot more.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
For a child what is the pronoun? Can one use 'it' We use 'it' for a baby and for 'children' one can use 'they' I would like to know the pronoun for the 'child'
I referred the dictionary it says 'his/ her' in one of the example given. Can't I use 'it' as the pronoun?
Thank you.
Regards
Lal

Hello Lal,

If we know the sex of the baby then it would be rather rude to use 'it'. However, if we do not know the sex then you could use 'it' or 'they'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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