You are here

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)





Hello Ahmadreza123

That really depends on the kind of learner you are. Some people find it quite useful and others do not, so I would encourage you to experiment with this to see what works best for you.

In general, I think almost everyone can benefit from writing down words, phrases and even sentences that they want to learn, especially if you then revise them from time to time and practise pronouncing them until they are easy to say.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, is it true that we should maintain the sequence of personal pronouns as follows:
Generally we use: You, she and I will go for a walk.
For unpleasant statements: I, he and you will be punished. (Ref: Treasury of English Grammar)
Pls let me know the correct use of pronouns

Hello jakirislam
As far as I know, there is no hard rule about this, though the general use you describe sounds like good advice to me. Putting 'me' or 'I' last in a list is a good practice -- it's more polite to let others go first. I'd never heard that about unpleasant statements. Again, it sounds like good advice, but I wouldn't call it a rule.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team


Is it acceptable to use their instead of his or her, and they instead of he or she in sentences like the following?

Every CEO is responsible for the success or failure of their (his or her) company.
Every CEO is responsible for the success or failure of the company they (he or she) work for.

Hello sam61,
Yes, it is fine to use 'they' (them, their etc) to mean 'he or she'. It is a very well-established form which can be found in Shakespeare and even earlier writers. 'They' is followed by a plural verb, even though it refers to one person.
The LearnEnglish Team


Greetings, I have a question regarding the 2nd person plural, "you". For example: If you are talking to two people and you want them to do something. You need to use more that just "you", you either need to use body language and point/move hand left and right to include both of them or you need to verbally tell them, "both of you have to to this" or "you two have to do this". What I am trying to say is that the 2nd person plural does not stand on it's own like the rest of the personal pronouns. Why is this? Thank you so much for your time and efforts.

Hello Terry
As you suggest, to be sure that both people you are speaking to understand that you are referring to both of them, you should say 'both of you', 'the two of you', 'you guys', or something similar. In some varieties of English, people commonly say 'y'all' or 'youse' or some other form when they want to make it clear they are speaking to more than one person, though please note that since these forms are usually considered non-standard, they are not always appropriate.
Several hundred years ago, English had different second person pronouns ('thou' in the singular' and 'ye' for the plural), but for complex reasons only 'you' has remained. You can read a bit more about this is in the Wikipedia article on English personal pronouns ( if you'd like to learn more.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for the best team . 1000 thank you Kirk
Ali Salh

Hello Sir
I went through your personal pronoun website. I would like to know about this.
e.g. I want to talk to someone in charge and tell ---------- how I felt.
The answer is 'them' but 'someone' is singular. Is it because of the gender ? him or her.
Please let me know.
Thank you.