Personal pronouns: types, examples, and quiz

This post helps us understand what a personal pronoun in English is and how to use it in a sentence. Our YouTube video on ‘Personal pronouns’ is embedded at the end of the lesson; you can scroll down to it directly and watch it if you prefer videos to articles.

personal pronoun infographic

What is a Personal Pronoun in English?

Personal pronoun definition: A personal pronoun is a word that replaces a name of a person.

We use personal pronouns instead of a person’s name to talk about the person. My name is Ashish, but I will use “I’ or “me” to address myself most of the time. Not doing it will make the conversation look peculiar because of taking the name of the person repetitively.

Look at this dialogue closely:

Hello, everyone! My best friend is Ashish, and Ashish, by profession, is a teacher and has been teaching English for 5 years. Ashish is here to teach you some basic English lessons. Before Ashish starts the class, Ashish wants to tell you that if you don’t follow anything during the lecture, please stop Ashish and ask for clarification.

How do you feel after reading it? 😉

Instead of using a personal pronoun for the name ‘Ashish‘, The speaker is using the name repetitively, which is making the paragraph sound a little odd and repetitive. Also, it makes the readers feel that the speaker is talking about someone else, not himself. Let’s replace the name with a personal pronoun referring to the speaker and read it again.

Hello, everyone! My name is Ashish, and I, by profession, am a teacher and have been teaching English for 5 years. I am here to teach you some basic English lessons. Before I start the class, I want to tell you that if you don’t follow anything during the lecture, please stop me and ask for clarification.

There are three types of persons in English:

First personThe one who is speaking at the moment.
Second personThe one whom the first person is speaking with or the person/people who are listening to the first person directly.
Third personThe whom both the first and the second person are talking about.
Objective pronounsPossessive pronouns
1st person      I
2nd person    You (singular)
You (plural)
3rd person    He

Subject pronoun

A subject pronoun, also known as a nominative pronoun, is a personal pronoun that functions as the subject of a sentence.

Examples of subjective pronouns:

  • I love talking to strangers.
  • Mangesh is my brother, and he is one of the best digital marketers in India.
  • You should invite Jane to the party. She is a sweet girl.
  • We are trying to be good human beings.
  • I was born in Delhi. It is the capital of India.
  • They are busy making the poster for the competition.

NOTE: The pronoun ‘it‘ refers to a singular thing (non-living thing). But if you consider an animal a part of your family, personalize the pet using the pronouns he/she.

  • A dog bit him. It was very strong. (non considering it a part of our family)
  • My dog is eating an apple. He generally does not eat apples. (considering it a part of our family)
Personal pronouns and the verbs they are used with

Pronouns that are considered singular = he, she, it
Pronouns that are considered plural = we, you, they

NOTE: the subject pronoun ‘I’ is considered singular but takes a plural verb in all tenses.

  • I love working with Jon.
  • I have decided to leave this company.
  • I am not a morning person.

In the Simple Present tense, when the sentence describes the subject, the subject pronoun ‘I’ take the special verb ‘am’. It is not used with any other pronoun or subject.

Object pronoun

An object pronoun, also known as an objective pronoun or accusative pronoun, functions as the object of a sentence. It can work as the object of a verb or the object of a preposition.

Examples of object pronouns as the direct object:
  • My friends always help me.
  • The speaker called us onto the stage.
  • I bought a fancy radio yesterday, but I haven’t used it yet.
  • I love you a lot.
  • I tried to help them, but none of them wanted to take my help.

Click here to understand what a direct object is.

Examples of object pronouns as the indirect object:
  • Janie performed amazingly well, and because of that, the teacher got her a present.
  • Tell me why you have come here.
  • I got him a beautiful watch on his last birthday.
  • Ashish taught them English.

Click here to understand what an indirect object is.

Examples of object pronouns as the object of a preposition:
  • The man standing next to Ron is looking at you.
  • Don’t talk to him right now. He is going through something bad.
  • Don’t let the boys go yet. I will speak with them.
  • It’s not about me.
  • His last video was sensational. Everyone at the college was talking about it.

Possessive pronoun

A possessive pronoun shows the possession of a person. It can function as the subject, object, and subject complement.

As the subject

  • Your friends are extremely rich, but mine are not.
  • Yours is a beautiful house.
  • Ours is a beautiful city; I can’t talk about yours.
  • Our children are a bit naughty, but theirs are evil.

As the object

  • Everyone’s car is parked here, but I don’t see his.
  • The teacher said that my project was better than yours, but he still choose yours for the presentation.
  • I bought a car after driving yours.

As the subject complement

  • This place is ours.
  • Don’t touch that phone; it’s hers.
  • This house is not mine; it’s hers.
  • I can’t have it. It is yours.

Possessive adjective vs Possessive pronoun

Possessive adjectivesPossessive pronoun

Don’t get confused between possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns. A possessive adjective is followed by a noun, and a possessive pronoun is not.

  • This is my bag. (possessive adjective)
  • This bag is mine. (possessive pronoun)
  • Our company does not care about us. (possessive adjective)
  • Ours is a good company. (possessive pronoun)
  • I don’t like his attitude. (possessive adjective)
  • I have no problem with your attitude; it is his that I hate. (possessive pronoun)

Singular pronouns

1. He is amazing at coding. (subject)
2. He was never my friend. (subject)
3. None of us likes him. (object)
1. She has taught me a lot of things. (subject)
2. She teaches English at BHU University. (subject)
3. Please help her with the assignment. (object)
1. It was great meeting you. (subject)
2. It is very expensive. (subject)
3. There’s nothing in it. (object)

Plural pronouns

1. You were right about the project. (subject)
2. You have one more chance to prove yourself. (subject)
3. They love you here. (object)
1. You were right about the project. (subject)
2. You have one more chance to prove yourself. (subject)
3. They love you here. (object)
4. Jon was so appreciative of you. (object)
1. They are loaded. They can buy anything they want. (subject)
2. They were quite famous back in college. (subject)
3. Why did not invite them to the party? (object)

Important points to note

A) The personal pronoun ‘it’ can refer to a thing (physical) or an idea/event/emotion (anything non-physical in nature).
  • We could have won the match had we put in a little more effort. Regardless, it taught us something and made us better. (In this example, the pronoun ‘it’ refers back to the entire game/situation.)
  • It was a cold Sunday evening. I was sitting on my porch, thinking about how complex the universe is. (Here, ‘it’ refers to a certain situation (day)).
B) The personal pronoun ‘IT’ can work as a dummy subject in sentences that talk about time, weather, or simply introduce something.
  • It is not a natural holiday today. (Here, the word ‘it’ does not refer to anything physical or non-physical. It is just used to form the sentence.)
  • It’s not right to blame yourself for the loss. (doesn’t refer to anything)
  • It is raining today. (doesn’t refer to anything)
C) The personal pronoun ‘they‘ works as a singular pronoun when it refers to a singular noun whose gender is not clear.

An unknown person called me in the middle of the night yesterday, and they gave me some inside information about my competitor.

Here, the pronoun ‘they‘ does not refer to a plural noun. It refers to a singular noun (person) whose gender is common. We don’t know if the person is male or female. In such situations where the gender of the noun that is referred to is common, we use the pronoun ‘they’ to refer to it, and it is considered singular and takes a singular verb.

Its subjective form is ‘they‘, and the objective form is ‘them‘.

If a customer comes after 2 pm, ask them to wait at the reception if they are willing.

The word ‘customer’ is a noun that refers to a person whose gender is unclear. Them (objective pronoun) and they (subjective pronoun) are used to refer to the person.

D) Personal pronouns are usually used to avoid redundancy that comes with repeating the same noun.

When you talk about yourself, you don’t take your name. You use the personal pronoun ‘I’. Similarly, when you talk about someone else, you take their name only once. After that, you use personal pronouns to refer to them.

  • My name is Ashish Sharma, and I am the author of this blog. I have been teaching English for over half a decade.
  • I want you to meet my friend Mangesh. He is amazing at reading people.
E) ‘They’ is the only personal pronoun that is used for people and things.
  • My friends are here, and they want to talk to you.
  • These clothes are old, but I still love them.


Why it is called personal pronoun?

It is called a personal pronoun because it replaces the name of a person or thing. Different personal pronouns refer to different types of persons (first, second, and third). 1st person: I, we, 2nd person: you, 3rd person: he, she, it, and they.

What are examples of personal pronouns?

There are 7 personal pronouns in English: I, you, we, he, she, it, and they. They are used in three forms: subjective, objective, and possessive. Examples: 1) You helped me a lot. 2) Jon got us in trouble last night. 3) The car is mine, but you can use it.

How many personal pronouns are there?

There are 7 seven personal pronouns in English: I, we, you, he, she, it, and they. These are in the subjective form, the objective forms are me, us, you, him, her, it, and they. The possessive forms are mine, ours, you, him, her, it, and they.

What are personal pronouns in grammar?

In grammar, words that refer to or replace the name of a person or a thing, mostly a person, are called personal pronouns. I, we, you, he, she, it, and they are the personal pronouns that refer to a person and function as the subject, and me, us, you, him, her, it, and them are the personal pronouns that function as an object in a sentence.

Now, we know everything about a personal pronoun. Feel free to share your question, doubt, or feedback in the comment section, and also, share the post with the people that need it.

For one-on-one classes, contact me at [email protected].

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Ashish found his first love—the English language—a few years back. Since then, he has been immersed in the language, breaking down the language and teaching it to passionate English learners. He has a flair for listening to the English language (podcasts, sitcoms, stories), observing the nuances, and making it easy for English learners. He is known for breaking down complex English topics and making them easy to be understood.

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