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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:

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

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Subject and object pronouns 2

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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

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he, she and they 2

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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

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you and they 2

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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

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Comments

Hello, I would like to ask which of the following is correct
1. I would like to suggest my writing a feature article about the movie OR
2. I would like to suggest writing a feature article about the 'The title' movie.
Thank you in advance

Hi Nagie23,

Both of them are grammatically correct, but the second one doesn't state who should write the article. It could be the speaker or the listener. We'd need to use the context of the conversation to know which person is intended.

For the first sentence, it might be more common to say it like this: I would like to suggest that I write ... (suggest + that + subject + verb).

I hope that helps :)

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone,
It is stated there that "We also use it to talk about other people". May I know if we can use it to talk more than one person at one time as the examples given refer to one person only.

e.g.
It was his parents.
It was Luke and his sister, Anna.

Thank you for your help.

Hello Omyhong,

Plural is absolutely fine here. Both of your examples are correct.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everyone! I have a question about the auxilliary verb be and the Subject pronouns. The grammar rule says that after the verbs we use the object pronouns but does this rule apply also for the verb to be?

"Are they tired?" here we used the Subject pronoun and not them the object pronoun even if it is followed after the verb.

Thank u in advance

Hello Hara21,

The rule is not that we use object pronouns after verbs, but that we use object pronouns when the pronoun is the object of the verb.

 

In the sentence 'Are they tired?' the subject is still 'they'. You can see this as the verb changes to agree with the pronoun (Am I tired? / Is she tired?), and verbs only agree with their subjects, not their objects.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank u Peter so it is wrong to say to a Junior class student that in a sentence object pronouns follow the verb and verbs follow Subject pronouns, right? Thank u so much!!

Hello Hara21,

I think it would be misleading, yes. In affirmative sentences the normal order is subject > verb > object, so obviously the subject pronoun tends to come before the verb, but there are many ways to use inversion, for example, which reverses this:

Never have I seen such a sight!

Hardly had he arrived when she left.

Little did I know that she already had the document.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I have a question:
Is "How do you get to Oxford from London?" a correct sentence?

Hi He999,

Yes :) It is correct.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

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