Pronouns

Pronouns are used in place of a noun that has already been mentioned or that is already known, often to avoid repeating the noun. For example:

Kate was tired so she went to bed.

Michael took the children with him.

Kieran’s face was close to mine.

That is a good idea.

Anything might happen.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are used in place of nouns referring to specific people or things, for example I, me, mine, you, yours, his, her, hers, we, they, or them. They can be divided into various different categories according to their role in a sentence, as follows:

Subjective pronouns

The personal pronouns I, you, we, he, she, it, we, and they are known as subjective pronouns because they act as the subjects of verbs:

She saw Catherine.

We drove Nick home.

I waved at her.

Objective pronouns

The personal pronouns me, you, us, him, her, it, and them are called objective pronouns because they act as the objects of verbs and prepositions:

Catherine saw her.

Nick drove us home.

She waved at me.

Here’s a table setting out the different forms:

  SINGULAR PLURAL
  subjective objective subjective objective
first person I me we us
second person you you you you
third person he/she/it him/her/it they them

Notice that the personal pronouns you and it stay the same, whether they are being used in the subjective or objective roles.

Possessive pronouns

The personal pronouns mine, yours, hers, his, ours, and theirs are known as possessive pronouns: they refer to something owned by the speaker or by someone or something previously mentioned. For example:

That book is mine.

John’s eyes met hers.

Ours is a family farm.

Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive personal pronouns include myself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. These are used to refer back to the subject of the clause in which they are used:

I fell and hurt myself.

Daisy prepared herself for the journey.

The children had to look after themselves.

 

Back to word classes (or parts of speech).

You may also be interested in

'I' or 'me'?

Between you and me

'He' or 'she' versus 'they'


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Grammar and usage