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 Kirk on Sun, 01/05/2016 - 06:41

In reply to by meshow96

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Hello meshow96,

The most effective way to prepare for the IELTS is usually to take a class or work with a teacher. There are a range of courses at the British Council Centre in Khartoum and I'm sure our staff there would help you find the right one for you. But if that's not possible or you prefer to work from the internet, we have some resources in our IELTS section and I'd also particularly recommend TakeIELTS, which has lots of useful advice, information and even some free practice materials for you.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

 

Submitted by fenolasco on Fri, 29/04/2016 - 17:15

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Super cool exercise! :D

Submitted by Jawad on Tue, 26/04/2016 - 17:46

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An example is given here "His father has just retired." verb -> retired ---- subject noun -> father ---- object pronoun -> his. Am I correct??

Submitted by marta_cariello on Sat, 23/04/2016 - 09:59

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Hi, this is a general question: is there a way for me to track my activity on this website? Thank you!

Hi marta,

I'm afraid there is no way you can use our website to do this. I know some users keep track by keeping a list on paper or on their own devices – that might be a useful option for you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pathomporn on Fri, 22/04/2016 - 01:59

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Hello, everyone I like this website,can help me in English, I am not good grammar.

Hello pathomporn,

Welcome to LearnEnglish. Please take a look at our Help section. You'll see lots of links there which will take you to pages with advice on how best to learn English and how best to use the site. I'm sure they will be very useful to you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by khalid Izz on Wed, 20/04/2016 - 08:49

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

Submitted by chrystler on Sun, 17/04/2016 - 17:34

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Thank you so much LearnEnglish Team, now I know what is really a pronoun and how to use it properly.

Submitted by Emad Romany on Sun, 17/04/2016 - 12:01

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I want to say thank you all

Submitted by Subhi Jleilaty on Sun, 17/04/2016 - 05:35

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Can I use (it) in this sentence Have you talked to a lawyer? can tell you your rights.

Hello Subhi Jleilaty,

We use 'it' to talk about things rather than people and so it is not appropriate for this sentence. Since we do not know if the lawyer is a man or a woman we would say either 'they' (with a plural verb, though we are talking about one person) or 'he or she' (with a singular verb).

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zhula on Sat, 16/04/2016 - 16:23

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very nice Website. Thank you BritishCouncil.

Submitted by jesrafrodr on Fri, 15/04/2016 - 16:10

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Hi, in the sentence Where do you want these bags? Shall I put ______ over here? If I am speaking about bags, Would I have to use '' it '' to reffer a bags?

Hello jesrafrodr,

Yes, that is correct. You would say 'them' for more than one bag and 'it' for one bag.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alexx Freya on Tue, 12/04/2016 - 01:20

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Could you help me, please? I don't know which word to fill this sentence: "I don't know why I invited the Johnsons. _______ don't really like parties."

Hello Alexx Freya,

The correct answer is 'They' because 'the Johnsons' refers to all the members (plural) of the Johnson family.

To see the answers, first click 'Finish' (after doing at least one question) and then you will see a new button marked 'Show answers'. This will let you see the key for all the questions.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by steffany herrera on Wed, 30/03/2016 - 03:05

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I have a question, why in the question have you talked to a lawyer? ______ can tell you your rights, I put he but was a mistake the correct answer is them, i would like to know whay if the word A is singular so a lawyer is un abogado, i don't understand the answer them, could you explain me this example, please.

Hello steffany herrera,

If you take a look a little further down the list of comments you'll see an answer from Kirk to the same question from another user. It's always a good idea to glance at the comments before you ask as others may well have had the same question!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AKBAR JAVED on Mon, 28/03/2016 - 09:59

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NOTE: My name's is Mathew and ------i--- am going to be your guide today. Sir , please guide me in respect of fill the blank either CAPITAL "I" or small "i"

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 29/03/2016 - 06:30

In reply to by AKBAR JAVED

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Hello Akbar Javed,

The personal pronoun 'I' is always capitalised in standard English – you should use the capitalised form here.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by oscar021178 on Sun, 27/03/2016 - 22:35

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This is my fist train and i find them intresting

Submitted by Anujgarg3334 on Sat, 26/03/2016 - 17:19

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Where do you want these bags? Shall I put ______ over here? Why cant i use THESE instead of THEM in blank.

Hello Anujgarg,

Using 'these' would place some emphasis that doesn't seem to be necessary here. 'them' is the neutral form, which makes more sense here (though perhaps in a certain context another form would be better).j

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Anujgarg3334 on Sat, 26/03/2016 - 17:16

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I wanted to talk to someone in charge and tell _______ how I felt. I used him here. Is it wrong? suggestion was "them". why?

Hello Anujgarg,

This is explained above, where it says:

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.

The person in charge could just as easily be a woman as a man.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by anil_baldaniya on Sat, 26/03/2016 - 06:58

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Useful learning sometimes I'm confused in pronouns. Thank you

Submitted by Maria Ngoc Phan on Tue, 22/03/2016 - 12:13

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Simple lesson, but sometimes I have somes mistakes for that. Thanks British Council!

Submitted by Omar_AlBayati on Sun, 20/03/2016 - 13:10

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Easy and useful Thanks British Council

Submitted by HIEN BIBI on Fri, 18/03/2016 - 15:10

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Question: I wanted to talk to someone in charge and tell....how i felt. I don't understand why use " them". Tks.

Hello HIEN BIBI,

We use 'them' (rather than 'they') because we need an object pronoun here. When we do not know if we are talking about a man or a woman we normally use 'they' (them/their/theirs) in modern English rather than the more clumsy 'he or she'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by vijay.3dpower on Tue, 15/03/2016 - 12:47

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Best warm up exercise! Thank you.

Submitted by neh7272 on Sun, 13/03/2016 - 18:45

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sir, kindly explain me the meaning of these sentence - Further, accentuating all these difficulties and making them harder to bear is the world's notorious indifference. In the above sentence does it mean that world accentuates problem. And what does indifference implies to ?

Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 14/03/2016 - 06:22

In reply to by neh7272

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Hello neh7272,

I'm afraid we can't really answer questions like these. We try to provide help with our own material or with general language questions, but we can't explain sentences from other sources - if we tried then we'd have no time for anything else!

However, I can say that you are correct in your guess, and that 'the world's indifference' means that the world does not care.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Justberik on Sun, 13/03/2016 - 16:59

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Something new for me. I have just found out that when we are not sure if we are talking about a man or a woman we use they/them. Great! Thanks a lot.

Submitted by Chickenteriyaki on Sun, 13/03/2016 - 03:21

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My aunt's coming to stay next week. I hope (she ) brings me a present. , why is this 'she' here not a object to verb hope and change to her ?

Hello Chickenteriyaki,

That sentence is actually the sentence 'I hope that she brings me a present' – it's just that we often leave out the word 'that' when speaking. So the structure is 'I hope' + a clause beginning with 'that', in which the verb is usually in the present, even though we're talking about the future.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by AKBAR JAVED on Fri, 11/03/2016 - 09:50

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what a great platform to learn English thoroughly.

Submitted by Ali Okair on Sat, 05/03/2016 - 20:26

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I started to answer the questions, but when I got second query it was not active to answer it

Submitted by nisch_one on Sat, 05/03/2016 - 12:41

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Sorry Of course I meant (them)....lol

Submitted by nisch_one on Sat, 05/03/2016 - 12:38

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Hello, why in the sentence "Where do you want these bags? Shall I put (it) over here" put (it) it' s wrong and put (theme) is right?

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 06/03/2016 - 20:38

In reply to by nisch_one

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Hello nisch_one,

You need to write 'them' because 'bags' is plural (more than one bag).

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Adam_new leaner on Thu, 03/03/2016 - 01:18

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Hi, I have a question. In this sentence : "She made me think" or "She made me do", what are the form of the word "think" and "do"? Are they verb? Do the rules on subject-verb agreement apply to the pronoun "me" here?