Pronouns are words we use in the place of a full noun.

We have both subject and object pronouns:

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Subject pronouns

We use subject pronouns as subject of the 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.

 

Warning

Remember: English clauses always have a subject:

His father has just retired. Was a teacher. > He was a teacher.
I’m waiting for my wife. Is late.  > She is late.

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

 

 Object pronouns

 We use object pronouns:

• as the object of the 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.

• 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

Exercise

Comments

Hello Bekhzad,

This is a good question and the answer is that the sentence is ambiguous. It is a feature of English that such sentences can be made as words do not change their form as much as in many languages, where there is agreement in terms of case (nominative/subject, accusative/object etc), gender (masculine, feminine, neuter) and so on.

This can be a strength of the language as skilled writers will often use such ambiguity as a tool. Where clarity is important it is the job of the speaker to ensure that they do not leave scope for confusion and the context is often key to this. Where the context does not help you can always add a clarification or construct the sentence slightly differently:

Students gave children books because they - the students - were good.

Students gave children books because they were good. The students, I mean.

Students gave children books because the students were good.

 

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team 

Thank you Mr Peter May for making it clear. I have another question. In the sentence "He has read magazines, journals and research papers which were published last year", "which" refers only to research papers?

Hello Bekhzad,

The sentence is actually ambiguous. 'Which' could refer to just research papers or it could refer to magazines, journals and research papers. The context might make it clear, and the pronunciation could also be helpful, but the sentence as written could be read either way.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sirs,
I have a sample report as below :

My Dolphin Report
This is a dolphin. They have two black flippers and a big grey tail. They live in the ocean. They eat fish.
I like dolphins because they are cute.

My question is whether it is necessary to change the first ‘They’ to ‘Dolphins’. Or, it is grammatically correct to use the pronoun ‘They’ to replace the noun ‘Dolphin’.

Thanks.

Hi Tony,

It would be better to change the text, as it sounds strange for the reason you point out. I think your suggestion is the most elegant one: 'This is a dolphin. Dolphins have ...'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Kirk. This cleared my doubt.

Dear sirs,

I have the sample as below :

Just between you and I/me , I think Tom is going to lose his job.

My answer is "I", because i think BETWEEN is a preposition, it is not averb so that subject pronoun is used.

Could you me to explain whether my answer is correct or not?

Thanks.

Hello hoamuoigio,

You are correct that 'between' here is a preposition. However, prepositions are followed by objects and so 'me' (the object pronoun) is correct here, not 'I'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

i would like to check my answers , is there any way ?

thanks a lot

Hello rashed4eng,

To check your answers first click the 'Finish' button at the bottom of each task, confirming with 'OK' if necessary. You will see your total score in a pop-up window. Once you close this, you can see which of your answers are correct and see the correct answers to the questions you got wrong by clicking 'Show Answers'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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