Using English Pronouns

In English pronouns take the place of nouns in sentences. Like nouns, they tell us who or what we are talking about. English pronouns may be subjects or objects within a sentence, but unlike nouns, their form changes depending on their position.

Demonstration of subject and object pronouns:
Demonstration of subject and object pronouns:

The person speaking calls himself (or herself) ‘I.’

If he is the object of an action he says ‘me.’

Examples: I like ice cream. Mary sees me.

‘You’ is the person (or people) the speaker is talking to.

(‘You’ is used for one or more persons-- singular or plural-- with no change. Sometimes it isn’t clear who is included.This is why we sometimes use ‘all of you’, ‘you guys’, or in the southern U.S. ‘y’all.’) The form does not change whether it is subject or object:

Examples: You like ice cream. Mary sees you.

3rd person singular pronouns (when the speaker is talking about someone or something else) are ‘he’ (for men), ‘she’ for women, and ‘it’ for things.

Object forms are ‘him,’ ‘her,’ and ‘it.’

Examples: He likes ice cream. Mary sees him.

She likes ice cream. Mary sees her. It (a dog, for example) likes ice cream. Mary sees it.

When a speaker wants to indicate his whole group is involved in causing or receiving the action, he uses ‘we’ (as subject) or ‘us’ (as object).

Examples: We like ice cream. Mary sees us.

The 3rd person plural forms are ‘they’ (masculine, feminine, or neutral) for subjects and ‘them’ for objects.

Examples: They like ice cream. Mary sees them.

Possessive Adjectives & Pronouns

Possessive pronouns (and possessive adjectives, which are followed by a noun) indicate ownership or relationship. Possessive adjectives are used before nouns.

Possessive pronouns are used without a noun.


“Give me back my book.

You know it’s mine, even though you have kept it a year.”

“Joe is Larry’s best friend. He has been his friend since 6th grade.”

“Larry is her boy friend, not mine.

I don’t want to get involved;

Larry is hers. “

“We just had our 25th anniversary.

When is yours?”

Ours is in 2 years. Our parents are celebrating their 50th anniversary, though!”

English Pronoun Forms

Subject Pronouns Object Pronouns Possessive Adjectives Possessive Pronouns
I me my mine
you you your your
he him his his
she her her hers
it it its its
we us our ours
they them their theirs

For information on other parts of speech, see English Parts of Speech, English Nouns, and English Verbs.

Return from English Pronouns to English Grammar Lessons.

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