Personal Pronouns, English Grammar, Advanced English Grammar
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Personal Pronouns :
The personal pronouns serve to distinguish (1) the speaker (2) the person spoken to and (3) the person, place or thing spoken of.
They are declined as follows….
The Pronoun of The First Person : I
Singular : I
Nominative : I
Possessive : my or mine
Objective : me
Plural : we
Nominative : we
Possessive : our or ours
Objective : us
The Pronoun of The Second Person : thou (YOU)
Singular : thou (YOU)
Nominative : thou (you)
Possessive : thy or thine (your)
Objective : thee (you)
Plural : thou (YOU)
Nominative : you or ye (you)
Possessive : your or yours (your)
Objective : you or ye (you)
The Pronoun of The Third Person : he, she, it and they
Singular : he, she, it
MASCULINE : he
FEMININE : she
NEUTER : it
Nominative : he, she, it
Possessive : his, her, its
Objective : him, her, it
Plural : they
MASCULINE, FEMININE and NEUTER : they
Nominative : they
Possessive : their
Objective : them
Unlike nouns, most of the personal pronouns have distinct forms for the nominative and the objective.
Note : The possessive case of personal pronouns never has the apostrophe. Thus….its, yours, theirs.
The form IT’S is proper only as a contraction of IT IS.
Gender and Number
Gender based Pronouns
Number based Pronouns
The pronouns of the first and second persons (I and thou) may be either masculine or feminine.
The pronouns of the third person have different forms for masculine, feminine and neuter in the singular (he, she, it)…but in the plural the form they serves for all three genders.
Note : In the oldest English HIS was both masculine and neuter. The neuter use lasted until the seventeenth century. Thus…..
That same eye whose bend doth awe the world.
Did lose his lustre.—Shakespeare, Julius Cesar, i. 2. 123.
Thou, Thy, Thine, Thee and Ye are old forms still found in poetry and the solemn style.
In ordinary prose, YOU, YOUR and YOURS are the only forms used for the second person, whether singular or plural. Yet YOU, even when denoting a single person, always takes the verb-forms that go with plural subjects. Thus….
My friend, you were [NOT was] in error.
Hence you may best be regarded as always plural in form, but may be described as singular in sense when it stands for one person only.
Note : Members of the Society of Friends (commonly called Quakers) and of some other religious bodies use thee and thy in their ordinary conversation.
YE was formerly the regular nominative plural and you the objective….but the forms were afterwards confused. YE has gone out of use except in poetry and the solemn style and you is now the regular form for both nominative and objective.
Where an objective form YE is found printed instead of you (as often in Shakespeare…..“A southwest blow on ye"), it represents an indistinct pronunciation of you rather than the old nominative ye. This indistinct sound may still be heard in rapid or careless speech (“I’ll tell yer the truth").
YE as an abbreviation for the (as in YE OLD TOWN) has nothing to do with the pronoun ye. The y simply stands for the character þ (an old sign for TH) and the abbreviation was pronounced the, never YE.
THEY, YOU and WE are often used indefinitely for one or people in general.
They say that Joe has gone to sea.
To shut off the steam, you close both valves of the radiator.
Note : WE, OUR and US are used in editorial articles instead of I, my, and me, because the writer represents the whole editorial staff. This practice should not be followed in ordinary composition.
A sovereign ruler may use WE, OUR and US when speaking of himself in proclamations and other formal documents. This construction is often called the plural of majesty. Thus….
Know that we have divided
In three our kingdom.—Shakespeare.
The form ’em (as in “Tell me your counsels; I will not disclose ’em," in Julius Cesar) is not a contraction of them, but of hem, an old objective plural of he.