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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Hello Githuga,

The 'apostrophe s' here is not a possessive. It is a contraction of 'has'.

The full sentence is 'John has quit his job'.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Would it be correct also to write, "John quit his Job".

Hello Githuga,

That sentence is correct but has a slightly different meaning. Whereas 'has quit' tells us something about the present (he has no job now), this sentence tells us only about the past; we cannot tell when he quit or what it means in the present.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rod Kim on Wed, 08/07/2015 - 16:32

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I have question in 7th quiz. I think "Johnsons" is his name. but answer is "They". Please explain to me. I don't understand.

Hello Rod,

You could also say 'the Johnsons' and it would grammatically correct, but it would be unusual. It is much more normal to use a pronoun to avoid such repetition. 'They' is the best answer in this specific context.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Rod, the pronoun "they" is the right answer here because "the Johnsons" is used for more than two people from the same family "Johnson".

Submitted by mkhuda on Mon, 29/06/2015 - 05:48

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Thanks for the excercise. Why the system of Personal Pronouns for input field is case-sensitive ? May it could be not like that. Thanks

Hello mkhuda,

The answers are case-sensitive because incorrectly capitalised (or not capitalised) pronouns are incorrect. It's true that the main focus of this exercise is choosing the correct pronoun rather than capitalisation, but including case-sensitive answers provides users the opportunity to practise that aspect of English as well. 

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Uliana Panko on Sun, 28/06/2015 - 21:14

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This site really helps me to repeat my English and I hope I can learn much more. Thank you for providing this opportunity to study English online.

Submitted by omeshwar narain on Fri, 26/06/2015 - 18:17

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Hello sir, Please help me solve my problem.I am not confirmed whether these sentences are correct ? Can I use 'her' twice,as in the following:- 1. He met his sister and gave her his book. 2. She met her sister and gave her her book. If the sentences are not correct how they should have been written.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 27/06/2015 - 06:48

In reply to by omeshwar narain

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Hello omeshwar narain,

Yes, those sentences are perfectly fine.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by shivnandan verma on Wed, 17/06/2015 - 21:50

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some answers are wrong

Hello shivnandan,

Which answers do you mean? Please be as specific as possible. If there's a mistake on the page, we certainly want to fix it.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ayub ali khan on Sat, 06/06/2015 - 11:48

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Hello sir plz solve my problemthis question is from my book in this question answer says use their in place of them but i want to ask u preposition followed by object then why them is wrong here and one more thing rules object to v4 so can we say objected them to wearing thnxxxxxx "The principal objected to them wearing short skirts atthe function "

Hello Ayb ali khan,

Ask yourself what the principal is objecting to - i.e. what is the object of the preposition 'to'. The answer is not 'them', it is 'wearing short skirts at the function'. The pronoun is 'their' because it is showing whose wearing is being objected to.

That said, many people in modern English use the object pronoun in place of the possessive pronoun in sentences such as these. Thus, although it would be correct to say 'I appreciate your taking the time to help me', many people actually say 'I appreciate you taking the time to help me'. It's an example of the language changing over time.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by amr_dalla on Thu, 04/06/2015 - 10:01

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why there is no record of the assignment result?

Hell amr_dalla,

I'm afraid that LearnEnglish does not track your scores and/or progress. Some users have told us that they keep track on paper; perhaps you might want to consider doing this.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kumar Shivam on Wed, 03/06/2015 - 10:08

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Thank you guys. These lessons are really well designed. I am enjoying.

Submitted by Karina0731 on Sun, 31/05/2015 - 11:16

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Hi... Can i know the subject of the verb means the word that in front of verb is subject? and same meaning to object of the verb means the word behind verb is object?

Hello Karina,

Yes, in most cases that's true, though sometimes the order of words is not a reliable way to determine the subject and object. There are many exceptions, but in many cases, the subject is the person or thing that performs the action of the verb, and the object receives that action.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Ayub ali khan on Fri, 29/05/2015 - 13:30

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Hello sir plz solve my problem this question is from my book in this question answer says use their in place of them but i want to ask u preposition followed by object then why them is wrong here and one more thing rules object to v4 so can we say objected them to wearing thnxxxxxx "The principal objected to them wearing short skirts at the function "

Submitted by Ilariuccia on Fri, 29/05/2015 - 09:04

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Hi! Which sentence is correct? 1. In my family there is my mum,my dad,my sister and I. 2. In my family there is my mum,my dad,my sister and me. Thanks....

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 30/05/2015 - 11:06

In reply to by Ilariuccia

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Hi Ilariuccia,

Both sentences are acceptable. The second is more common in modern English.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sara03 on Sun, 31/05/2015 - 15:02

In reply to by Ilariuccia

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i think the second one

Submitted by Drhazim on Mon, 08/06/2015 - 22:54

In reply to by Ilariuccia

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I think both answer are correct and most appropriate is the second one .

Submitted by ِِAhmedaziem on Mon, 25/05/2015 - 05:42

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Thank you so much for your great help.

Submitted by Nowroz Rahman on Thu, 21/05/2015 - 08:36

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i am new .i want to learn english .can anyone help me how should i start?

Hello Nowroz Rahman,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! You can find this information, and many tips and suggestions on learning in general, on our Help page.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aga rizki giovani on Sat, 16/05/2015 - 15:33

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hi iam newbie and my english worse please teach me if iam wrong . thank you

Hello aga rizki giovani,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! We don't correct users' posts and comments here - we have hundreds every day so it would not be possible to do this. We can help with specific questions, however. To start, I suggest you try our Help page, which has some great advice for getting started. You could then try Elementary Podcasts Series Three, which is designed for elementary level learners.

Best wishes and good luck,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Danny1984 on Tue, 12/05/2015 - 18:33

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Hello, everyone! I've got a problem with gender in Englilsh. Is the sentence 'The child is eating its dinner' correct? Is it possible to say 'The child is eating his/her dinner' too? Best regards, Daniel

Hi Daniel,

The sentence with 'its' is also possible, and I'm sure you could find the second one (with 'his/her'), especially in writing. Another, probably more common alternative is the same sentence with 'their' instead of 'its'. As it says on this page, When we are not sure if we are talking about a man or a woman we use 'they/them' - 'they' and its various forms have become quite common as a pronoun for both singular and plural nouns whose gender is unknown or unspecified. 

If the gender of the child being talked about is known, your second sentence, using just 'his' or 'her' as appropriate, would also be correct.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by sandeep977 on Mon, 11/05/2015 - 02:30

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It is very easy to understand

Submitted by Hermon on Sun, 03/05/2015 - 18:20

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Hello this is my first day can you tell me about grammar And the different b/t need and want

Hello Hermon,

'Need' and 'want' are both followed by [to + infinitive]. 'Want' describes an emotion: something we desire. 'Need' describes a requirement: something we must have for some reason. However, in some contexts both verbs are possible and the meanings can overlap or be used as alternatives; context is crucial.

Your question about grammar is rather too broad for me to answer! You can find some advice about learning, including about grammar, on our Help page, and you can use the grammar sections to look up, learn about and practise particular elements of the system. If you have any specific questions then you can ask them in the comments section of a relevant page and we'll be happy to try to answer them for you.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rulisa on Wed, 29/04/2015 - 09:06

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Hello I am Rulisa, Iwould like to be fluent in English for a better Professional carrier.

Submitted by Rathod Namdeo on Wed, 15/04/2015 - 09:02

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i do not understanding the sentence arrangement

Hello Rathod Namdeo,

You need to type the correct word in each gap. To see how you did, click 'Check answers. To see the correct answers, click 'Finish'.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Rulisa,

The House Rules explain the rules for using LearnEnglish. As a new user, I'd also suggest you read our Help page, which has advice on how to use the site.

Welcome and let us know if you have any other questions!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Rabia Fazil on Mon, 13/04/2015 - 08:07

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Hello, Its my first day, can you guide me to organize a schedule for myself. it will be a great support best regards, Rabia

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 14/04/2015 - 06:44

In reply to by Rabia Fazil

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Hello Rabia,

Welcome to LearnEnglish! There is no set way to use LearnEnglish, but I can make a couple of suggestions. First, spend a little time exploring the site using the menu at the top of the page (Home, Listen & Watch, etc.). Take a minute to look at each section so you can get a sense for the resources they have. Second, read through the questions and answers on our Help page - that should give you some ideas for how to use the site.

If you still don't know what to do after that, I'd recommend starting with the Elementary Podcasts and following the advice on the Help page under How can I improve my speaking?

Good luck!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Kenan Saatcioglu on Wed, 08/04/2015 - 06:06

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Hello sir/madame. My name is Kenan from Istanbul. I want to ask a question about personal pronouns. It is logical to go on this example: "Have you talked to a lawyer? They can tell you your rights" We normally don't know about lawyer's gender so we must use "they". It's okay. But can we use "he or she" like that instead of "they". If it can, which one has the common using? Thank you very much indeed for your kind assistance. Best Regards, Kenan Saatcioglu

Hello Kenan Saatcioglu,

It's perfectly fine to say 'he or she' or 'they' when we do not know the gender of the person. Which you use is a question of preference and personal style more than anything else, so use whichever you prefer.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kraspu on Tue, 07/04/2015 - 20:02

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Hello! I have a question. In this stage - "Where do you want these bags? Shall I put __ over here?" - I thought the correct answer is "it" bacause "bags" is an inanimate object. Why it is wrong?

Hello kraspu,

'it' is used to refer to singular inanimate objects; when referring to a plural inanimate object (such as 'bags'), you should use 'them'.

Best regards,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kayesarahmmed on Mon, 06/04/2015 - 01:42

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Hello The Learn English Team, I am confused about some pronoun which has used here. Such as they for a lawyer and them for someone. Can you please add the rules or list of pronoun used against particular Noun.. Best Regards Md. Kayesar Ahmmed

Hello kayesarahmmed,

The answer to your question is in the explanation:

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

Lawyers can be male or female and we are talking in general terms, not about a particular known lawyer, so we use 'they'.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kishoreo on Thu, 26/03/2015 - 18:38

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hi krik, when i was doing exercise form personal pronouns topic, i not get right answer ... even i seen all possible pronoun for finding answer ...please help