Personal Pronouns

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Personal Pronouns :

Unlike English nouns, which usually do not change form except for the addition of an -s ending to create the plural or the apostrophe + s to create the possessive, personal pronouns (which stand for persons or things) change form according to their various uses within a sentence. Thus I is used as the subject of a sentence (I am happy.), me is used as an object in various ways (He hit me. He gave me a book. Do this for me.), and my is used as the possessive form (That's my car.) The same is true of the other personal pronouns: the singular you and he/she/it and the plural we, you, and they. These forms are called cases.

Personal pronouns can also be characterized or distinguished by person. First person refers to the speaker(s) or writer(s) ("I" for singular, "we" for plural). Second person refers to the person or people being spoken or written to ("you" for both singular and plural). Third person refers to the person or people being spoken or written about ("he," "she," and "it" for singular, "they" for plural). As you will see there, each person can change form, reflecting its use within a sentence. Thus, "I" becomes "me" when used as an object ("She left me") and "my" when used in its possessive role (That's my car"); "they" becomes "them" in object form ("I like them") and "their" in possessive ("That's just their way").

When a personal pronoun is connected by a conjunction to another noun or pronoun, its case does not change. We would write "I am taking a course in Asian history"; if Talitha is also taking that course, we would write "Talitha and I are taking a course in Asian history." (Notice that Talitha gets listed before "I" does. This is one of the few ways in which English is a "polite" language.) The same is true when the object form is called for: "Professor Vendetti gave all her books to me"; if Talitha also received some books, we'd write "Professor Vendetti gave all her books to Talitha and me."

When a pronoun and a noun are combined (which will happen with the plural first- and second-person pronouns), choose the case of the pronoun that would be appropriate if the noun were not there.

  • We students are demanding that the administration give us two hours for lunch.

  • The administration has managed to put us students in a bad situation.

    With the second person, we don't really have a problem because the subject form is the same as the object form, "you":

  • "You students are demanding too much."

  • "We expect you students to behave like adults."

    Among the possessive pronoun forms, there is also what is called the nominative possessive: mine, yours, ours, theirs.

  • Look at those cars. Theirs is really ugly; ours is beautiful.

  • This new car is mine.

  • Mine is newer than yours.

    Related Links :

  • Personal Pronouns

  • Demonstrative Pronouns

  • Indefinite Pronouns

  • Relative Pronouns

  • Reflexive Pronouns

  • Intensive Pronouns

  • Interrogative Pronouns

  • Reciprocal Pronouns

  • English Glossary| Personal Pronouns to HOME PAGE

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