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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)





Hello abhijeet,

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The LearnEnglish Team

I did not understand what is the difference between " possessive pronoun " abd "possessive adjactive".
Could you please help me with these two problem?

Hello Ahmadreza123

A pronoun takes the place of a noun and an adjective tells us more about a noun. Look at these sentences: 'His shirt is blue. Mine is red.' In the first sentence, the noun 'shirt' is modified by the adjective 'his', which tells us which shirt is being talked about. In the second sentence, 'mine' is a pronoun -- it is the subject of the verb 'is'.

Does that make sense?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello , how is the big city treating you?
It really drives me up the wall when i think about learning grammar , but do you think is it good to have a notebook and write grammar rules on it ?

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