Pronouns

Pronouns

by Owen Fourie

A Useful Tabulation for Easy Reference

A pronoun is a word that stands in the place of a noun.

Put simply, you would not say or write,

Emma likes Emma’s car (unless there are two distinct people of the same name in the same place at the same time, but even then it will sound odd).

It would be far better to use a pronoun and say,

Emma likes her car (and let a further statement clarify the fact if it is a different Emma’s car, but ordinarily we would take this to be referring to the one and only Emma’s car).

The following tabulation is intended for your benefit as you study personal pronouns. It will also serve as a reference point for the next post in which we’ll consider pronoun-antecedent agreement.


ENGLISH PRONOUNS

First Person & Second Person

including possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives (having similar forms to pronouns but serving as adjectives)

Person

First Person

Second Person

Number Singular Plural Singular Plural
Gender
Subject I we you you
Object me us you you
Possessive mine, my ours, our yours, your yours, your
Reflexive / Intensive myself ourselves yourself yourselves

ENGLISH PRONOUNS

Third Person

including possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives (having similar forms to pronouns but serving as adjectives)

Person

Third Person

Number Singular Plural Relative
Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter
Subject he she it they who
Object him her it them whom
Possessive his, his hers, her its, its theirs, their whose
Reflexive / Intensive himself herself itself themselves

In this tabulation, you can easily identify the person (first, second, or third) and the number (singular or plural) of a pronoun and how it is used (as subject, object, possessive, reflexive or intensive).

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If you need help with any grammar problem, ask here. How are you learning English Grammar? How useful are grammar textbooks to you? How would you describe them—clear, confusing, boring? What confusing experiences have you had with pronouns? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

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3 comments

    • Bram on March 24, 2018 at 06:37
    • Reply

    Hello,

    I am still confused about the use of me and I.

    For example, when to use “me” and when to use “I” in sentences like :
    > James went with Sue and ____ to the store.

    To me, it sounds like it should be me because “Sue and me” is the object. But, my fellows say that in cases like this, it should be “I” because it sounds more natural.

    Would you please explain this to me.

    Thank you

    1. Bram, you are quite right. It is me as part of the object of the preposition with: James went with Sue and me to the store.

      If you were to change that sentence to James, Sue and ____ went to the store, you would use I as part of the subject.

      To resolve the difficulty, consider what would happen if you were to remove Sue from your example:
      James went with ____ to the store. Would you say, James went with I to the store? Of course not. You would use me as the object of the preposition with. The same would then apply when you add Sue back as part of the object: James went with Sue and me to the store.

      Thinking that Sue and I in that position sounds more natural probably comes from years and years of being told to say So-and-so and I, and then failing to distinguish between that usage as correct in a subject position but incorrect when used as the object of a verb or the object of a preposition.

      I trust that this will clarify this issue for you.

        • Bram on March 24, 2018 at 12:17
        • Reply

        Thank you! Your explanation is very organized and easy to follow.

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