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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)





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

In my memory we use they/them when a subject/object is plural. But here the subject is single, a friend, a doctor. I'm confused. Could you please explain that?

Hello zenger62,

People often say 'they' to refer to a person when they don't know if that person is male or female. In the first sentence, since most people have both male and female friends and the sentence is general advice, 'they' is appropriate. In the second one, since doctors can be male or female and the speaker is not referring to a specific doctor, 'they' is appropriate.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir,
Which pronouns can be filled in the following blanks?

"My baby's due next month. I hope __ will be a boy."
"What will you call __ if __ is a boy?"

Which answer is correct? it/it/it or it/him/it ?

Thank you

Hello shajing3724,

The correct answer here is 'it'. We generally avoid using 'it' for people apart from situations like this when we are talking about a baby as yet unborn (though if we already know the sex of the baby then we can use 'he' or 'she').


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

sorry it made me confused.can we use they/them/they.because we dont know the baby is a male or female?

Hello mina66,

You make a good point, as we often use 'they' or 'them' to refer to a single person whose gender is unknown. In the case of babies, however, we say 'it'. As far as I know, there is no grammatical reason for this -- it is simply a question of usage. So in this case you should say 'it', not 'they'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Sir

Could you explain me what a subject and object mean?


Thank you

Hello Muhammad Umar,

A subject is usually the person or thing doing the action of the verb. The object is usually the person or object that the action of the verb is being done to. For example, in 'She kissed her son', 'She' is the subject (the person kissing) and 'her son' is the object.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi everyone:)

I would like to ask you something.

I don't understand why the right answer of this exercise is "them" - "Have you talked to a lawyer? They can tell you your rights."

Why "they" - a lawyer is а singular.