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:

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

MultipleChoice_MTU4MDc=

Subject and object pronouns 2

GapFillTyping_MTU4MDg=

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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTU4MDk=

he, she and they 2

GapFillTyping_MTU4MTY

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

GapFillTyping_MTU4MTc=

you and they 2

GapFillTyping_MTU4MTk=

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

 

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Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 18:02

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No less than fifty students were present. Is it correct? My answer Not less than fifty students were present

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 18:01

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It couldn’t have been (a)/ written by Kalidas because (b)/ that kind of dress was not worn (c)/ till after his death. (d) / No Error (e). Is it correct? d--->till his death

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:47

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Atul’s habit of (a)/ delaying his work (b)/ put his colleagues (c)/ to a lot of trouble Is the sentence is correct? to a lot of troubles

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:25

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The information supplied (a)/ to us was not as (b)/ useful as we first (c)/ thought it would be. (d) No Error (e). The information supplied to us was not as useful as first we thought it would be which one is best and why?

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:20

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Tax evaders should (a)/ be heavily fiend (b)/ as they are doing (c)/ it intentionally. (d)/ No Error (e). my answer No error . sentence is correct

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:19

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The moment Vighnesh was (a)/ admitted to the hospital (b)/ the warden decided (c)/ to inform his parents. (d) / No Error (e). How can I improve the sentence ? No sooner Vighnesh was admitted to the hospital than the warden decided to inform his parents?

Submitted by abymonly on Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:16

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Priyamvada was unhappy (a)/ to hear the news (b)/of her son’s failing (c)/ in the final examination.(d) Is this sentence correct? c>= of her son's failure

Hello abymonly,

I'm afraid we don't provide answers for homework or test questions from elsewhere - if we tried then we would have no time for anything else!

I've published your question, however, as perhaps another user might be interesting in discussing it.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Yu Yu on Wed, 29/06/2016 - 10:46

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Hello, Thanks a lot for this lesson. And I want to know what is dummy subject and how can I use these.

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 29/06/2016 - 11:42

In reply to by Yu Yu

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Hello Yu Yu,

Dummy subjects are explained on our it and there page.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rony on Wed, 29/06/2016 - 07:22

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sir i have query. we had already been delivered the goods to your factory. is it right or wrong?

Submitted by Kirk on Wed, 29/06/2016 - 07:28

In reply to by rony

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Hello rony,

No, the verb is not correct. You could say:

  1. We had already delivered the goods to your factory.
  2. We have already delievered the goods ...
  3. The goods had already been delivered ...
  4. The goods have already been delivered ...

1 and 2 are active sentences and 3 and 4 are passive. 1 and 3 are in the past perfect and 2 and 4 are in the present perfect.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lulu83 on Sun, 26/06/2016 - 05:31

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I was confused with the pronoun in this sentence Where do you want these bags? Shall I put it over here? but now I understood that in plural you use they or them .

Submitted by abymonly on Sat, 25/06/2016 - 06:25

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Hi Sir, SBI is one of those banks that gives loans easily Is it a correct sentence. I know 'one of +plural noun+singular verb' but when the sentence is in simple present singular subject takes 's form' I am confused?

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 25/06/2016 - 07:01

In reply to by abymonly

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Hello abymonly,

In the present simple tense, the -s that is added to the end of singular third-person verbs doesn't indicate plurality – it's just a verb ending.

You're right that 'one of' + plural noun takes a singular verb. Your sentence has the relative pronoun 'that' in it, which makes it a bit different because the subject of the verb is not 'one' but rather 'those banks'. So properly speaking, the verb should be the plural verb 'give' in your sentence, but actually I'd recommend you use the singular verb! I know this may sound strange, but most people would say 'gives', even though strictly speaking it's not logical here.

So your sentence is correct – good work!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by neh7272 on Thu, 23/06/2016 - 08:35

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Sir, In the following sentence 'however' refers to process or the listener - The true appreciation of music is an arcane process closed to the uninitiated listener, however enthusiastic. Sir how do we get to know to whom the sentence after comma is referring to.

Submitted by Kirk on Thu, 23/06/2016 - 15:09

In reply to by neh7272

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Hello neh7272,

'however enthusiastic' refers to the listener – here the full ending of the sentence is something like 'however enthusiastic they may be'. According to this statement, no matter how enthusiastic a listener may be, they cannot truly appreciate music without having been initiated.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by abymonly on Mon, 20/06/2016 - 13:32

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which is correct? I am confused with whom and who 1)Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), has spoken of minimum qualifications for journalists whom he thinks don't understand much of what they write about. 2)Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), has spoken of minimum qualifications for journalists who he thinks don't understand much of what they write about.

Hello abymonly,

The second sentence is the correct way to express this. 'Who' is the subject of the second clause and he phrase 'he thinks' does not affect this. If we take this out of the context of a relative clause then it becomes clearer:

He, I think, does not understand much of what he writes about.

Him, I think, does not understand much of what he writes about.

Looked at like this, it is clear that a subject pronoun is needed and so 'who' is correct.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by akshaytikone on Tue, 14/06/2016 - 09:54

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Thanks,nice tutorial

Submitted by MissOn on Mon, 13/06/2016 - 11:50

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Thanks a lot! I've got very useful information!

Submitted by nadimkhan52 on Sun, 12/06/2016 - 10:23

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Thank you ,,,,,,,,,,

Submitted by Asha Suthershan on Fri, 03/06/2016 - 09:22

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Dear sir, thank u so much. It's really help for me

Submitted by Irapuan Antoni… on Fri, 27/05/2016 - 15:53

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Hi, Teachers. Could you explain me if is the words THEIR and THERE has a same sound. Thanks, I really appreciate LearnEnghlish All the best, Irapuan

Hello Irapuan,

Yes, they are pronounced the same. By the way, you can check this kind of thing yourself in the dictionary: see the entries for 'their' and 'there'. At the top of the page they are in phonetic transcription, and if you click on the little red symbol next to UK, you can hear them as well.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sun on Wed, 18/05/2016 - 11:48

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Sir could you pleasse explain me the meaning of this sentence 'where do you want these blinds?' It means from where you get these blinds or what you want where I put these blinds?

Hi sun,

It means 'where shall I put these blinds'. It might help to think of it as a short form of 'Where do you want (me to put) these blinds?'

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Sun, 15/05/2016 - 17:55

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What is the dummy subject ?

Hello medmomo,

At the top right of each page you can find the search icon - it looks like a magnifying glass. Click on this to see the search window and then type in the phrase you want to look up ('dummy subject'). You will find all the pages which refer to that. For example, here are the pages which explain 'dummy subject'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Sun, 15/05/2016 - 17:45

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Hello Sir ; What is the English clauses ?

Hello medmomo,

You can find information on the different types of clause in English here.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Saiddor on Fri, 06/05/2016 - 10:20

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hi i need help for this sentense. I invited the Davids to come here.its real sentense?
Hi If your sentence is referring to their family name - David, then it is a real sentence. It means you have invited the whole family, all of the David's. I invited the David's to come here. But if you are talking about one person who is called David, then it should read I invited David to come here.

Hello Saiddor,

When we talk about a family we can use their surname in a plural form to mean the family as a whole (or a married couple). Thus, if you want to invite Mr and Mrs David then it would be fine to say this. No apostrophe is used in this form.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by 1v0nnE on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 22:08

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Hi, Could you please explain me in the sentence "Have you talked to a lawyer? They can tell you your rights" why it's "they" used? Thanks

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 06/05/2016 - 07:14

In reply to by 1v0nnE

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Hello 1v0nnE,

If we don't know the gender of a person then we say either 'he or she is...' or 'they are...'

'They' can mean several people or one person whose gender we do not know:

Who is our teacher?

I don't know, but I hope they're nice!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by soethein on Fri, 27/05/2016 - 09:55

In reply to by 1v0nnE

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A lawer can be a man or woman.

Submitted by Jorge Matos on Wed, 04/05/2016 - 21:28

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In the phrase " Where do you want these bags?" Shall I put ...(them) over here? Why is it used "them" if de word "bags" is a object? It is no correct : " Shall I put it over here?"

Hello Jorge,

'them' is for plural objects (such as 'bags') and 'it' is for singular objects (such as 'bag'), therefore 'it' is not correct in this case.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by ngrl on Tue, 03/05/2016 - 01:56

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Could I get some clarification of the use of the pronoun "it". What about I do not know if the person is a man or a woman can use it in order to refer to that person. Can you give me an example, please?

Hello ngrl,

We do not use 'it' to talk about people - it would actually be quite insulting! The standard ways in modern English are to say or write either 'he/she' or (more commonly) to use the pronoun 'they' (with a plural verb, even though it refers to one person). For example:

You should see a doctor about your headache. They'll prescribe a painkiller.

I'm meeting my new boss today. I hope they're nice!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot! I read an example in a book referring about a game to guess who was the famous person and the question written in the book was "Who is it?" and the shadow of someone. Would this be incorrect?. Thank you very much.That's my last question. :)

Hello ngrl,

You're right that 'it' can be used to talk about people, but in general we don't use 'it' to refer directly to a person – this is what Peter meant. I know this must sound a bit confusing, but fortunately it is explained in the Using "it" to talk about people section on our it and there page. As you'll see from the explanation and examples there, the question you ask about is indeed correct. Please let us know if you have any further questions about this.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by CINZIA VALENTI on Sun, 01/05/2016 - 16:46

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Hello, which is correct: John and me? or John and I? thank you for you kind reply. Cinzia

Hello Cinzia,

Traditionally '...and I' was seen as the correct form. However, in modern English both of these are considered acceptable:

John and I went to the shop.

John and me went to the shop.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

Both are correct, but they are used differently. "John and I" is considered as a subject. E.g: John and I work together. "John and me" is considered as an object. E.g: She visited John and me.

Submitted by meshow96 on Sat, 30/04/2016 - 21:37

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Hi: I want to sit for the IELTS exam and my qualifications in the English language is a medium according to assess of British Council web site my question is: do you Do you think that the study through your web site enough to learn English fluently and then sit for the exam? Or it is necessary that to joined the British Council center Thanks