What Are Personal Pronouns? (with Examples)

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What Are Personal Pronouns? (with Examples)

Personal pronouns represent people or things. The personal pronouns are:
  • I
  • you
  • he
  • she
  • it
  • we
  • they

Subjective Personal Pronouns

The list above shows the subjective personal pronouns. These are the versions used for the subjects of verbs. For example:
  • You are happy.
  • They won the league.

Objective Personal Pronouns

The objective personal pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, and them.

These are the versions used when the personal pronouns are objects (like direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions). For example:
  • Paul knows her.
  • (The personal pronoun is a direct object.)
  • Paul gave them the letter.
  • (The personal pronoun is an indirect object.)
  • Paul went with him.
  • (The personal pronoun is an object of a preposition.)

Choosing Personal Pronouns

Native English speakers rarely make mistakes when selecting which personal pronoun to use. However, whether we know it or not, we all select a personal pronoun having first determined its:
  • Number
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something singular or plural?

  • Person
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something:

    In the first person? (This is the speaker himself or a group that includes the speaker, i.e., I, me, we, and us.)

    In the second person? (This is the speaker's audience, i.e., you.)

    In the third person? (This is everybody else, i.e., he, she,it, they.)

  • Gender
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something male, female, or neuter?

  • Case
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something which is a subject or an object?

The Personal Pronouns and Their Possessive Versions

The table below shows the subjective personal pronouns and the objective personal pronouns. For completeness, it also shows the associated possessive adjectives and absolute possessive pronouns.

PersonSubjective CaseObjective CasePossessive Case
Possessive Adjective
Possessive Case
Absolute Possessive Pronouns
First Person Singular I me my mine
Second Person Singular you you your yours
Third Person Singular he/she/it him/her/it his/her/its his/hers/its
First Person Plural we us our ours
Second Person Plural you you your yours
Third Person Plural they them their theirs
 
 


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