What is a Personal Pronoun? Definition, Examples of Pronouns

Personal pronoun definition: A personal pronoun is a word that replaces a noun and refers to a specific person(s) or thing(s).

What is a Personal Pronoun?

What does personal pronoun mean? A personal pronoun is a type of pronoun. A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. A personal pronoun replaces the name of specific people or things.

English requires pronouns to avoid redundancy. That said, a noun (antecedent) must be used before a pronoun can be used.

Example of Personal Pronoun in Use:

  • Sasha attended the conference. (no pronoun; Sasha is antecedent)
  • He attended the conference.

“He” is the personal pronoun replacing the antecedent, Sasha. “He” refers specifically to Sasha.

Other Examples of Personal Pronouns:

  • But in his personal life, Johnson’s dealings with Uncle Sam have been rocky, and by his own admission, he spent several years spent avoiding U.S. taxes. –The Washington Post (with pronouns)
  • But in Johnson’s personal life, Johnson’s dealings with Uncle Sam have been rocky, and by Johnson’s own admission, Johnson spent several years spent avoiding U.S. taxes. (without pronouns)
  • After two years of planning, Theresa Rosette and Kristina Evans opened their first restaurant, Rest Farmhouse Inspired, serving up dishes made from locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. –L.A. Times (with pronouns)
  • After two years of planning, Theresa Rosette and Kristina Evans opened Theresa Rosette and Kristina Evans’s first restaurant, Rest Farmhouse Inspired, serving up dishes made from locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. (without pronouns)

help with english pronounsAs you can see, adding pronouns into your text clearly helps its ability to be read.

Personal Pronouns List

Here is a list of person pronouns separated into first person pronouns, second person pronouns, and third person pronouns.

What are the Subjective Pronouns?

Singular Subjective:

  • I (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • he/she/it (third person, male/female/neuter

Plural Subjective:

  • we (first person, male or female)
  • you (first person, male or female)
  • they (third person, male/female/neuter)

What are the Objective Pronouns?

Singular Objective:

  • me (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • him/her/it (third person, male/female/neuter)

Plural Objective:

  • us (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • them (third person, male or female)

Subjective Personal Pronouns

exampels of pronouns in englishLet’s take a deeper look at just the subjective personal pronouns.

List of Subjective Personal Pronouns:

Singular Subjective:

  • I (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • he/she/it (third person, male/female/neuter

Plural Subjective:

  • we (first person, male or female)
  • you (first person, male or female)
  • they (third person, male/female/neuter)

Use subjective personal pronouns when the personal pronoun is the subject of the sentence.

Examples with subjective personal pronouns:

  • Tomorrow, Amanda will begin a new job.
    • Tomorrow, she will begin a new job.
  • The book rested on the table.
    • It rested on the table.
  • Ken and Cozette arrived late.
    • They arrived late

Objective Personal Pronouns

worksheets for english pronounsNow, let’s take a look at just the objective personal pronouns.

List of Objective Personal Pronouns:

Singular Objective:

  • me (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • him/her/it (third person, male/female/neuter)

Plural Objective:

  • us (first person, male or female)
  • you (second person, male or female)
  • them (third person, male or female)

Use objective personal pronouns when the personal pronoun is the object of the sentence.

Examples with objective personal pronouns:

  • Yesterday, Yvan visited Russ.
    • Yesterday, Yvan visited you.
  • Mary phoned Sue.
    • Mary phoned
  • I have never enjoyed
    • I have never enjoyed

Selecting Personal Pronouns

In order to determine the correct personal pronoun, consider the following points for selection.

Number:

  • The number of nouns that the pronoun replaces determines which personal pronoun should be used.
    • If it is one noun (singular), use a singular personal pronoun.
    • If it more than one noun (plural), use a plural personal pronoun.

Person:

  • The point of view of nouns that the pronoun replaces determines which personal pronoun should be used.
    • If the noun or nouns are first-person (singular), use first-person personal pronouns.
    • If noun or nouns are second-person, use second-person personal pronouns.
    • If the noun our nouns are third-person, use third-person personal pronouns.

Gender:

  • The gender of nouns that the pronoun replaces determines which personal pronoun should be used.
    • If the noun is male, use male personal pronouns.
    • If the noun is female, use female personal pronouns.
    • If the noun is neuter, use neuter personal pronouns.
    • NOTE: English does not have gender-specific plural pronouns.

Case:

  • The case of nouns that the pronoun replaces determines which personal pronoun should be used.
    • If the noun or nouns are acting as a subject, use subjective personal pronouns.
    • If the noun or nouns are acting as an object, use objective personal pronouns.

Personal Pronouns and Their Possessive Cases

possessive pronouns meaningBelow is a basic outline for personal pronouns and their possessive cases for each subjective personal pronoun.

The possessive for each personal pronoun can fill in the blank of the following sentences.

  • That is ____ cat.
    • That is my cat.
  • The cat is ____.
    • The cat is mine.

Singular Possessive:

  • I (first person, male or female)
    • I > my > mine
  • you (second person, male or female)
    • you > your > yours
  • he/she/it (third person, male/female/neuter
    • he > his > his
    • she > hers > hers
    • it > its > its

Plural Possessive:

  • we (first person, male or female)
    • we > our > ours
  • you (first person, male or female)
    • you > your > yours
  • they (third person, male/female/neuter)
    • they > their > theirs

Individual Pronoun Questions

Every now and then, people will send me individual questions about personal pronouns, so I want to take a bit of space to address some of the more common questions.

Is We a Personal Pronoun?

  • We is a pronoun in the first personal plural case.

Is You a Personal Pronoun?

  • You is a pronoun in the second person singular and plural cases.

Is It a Personal Pronoun?

  • It is a pronoun in the third person singular case.

Is He a Personal Pronoun?

  • He is a pronoun in the third person singular case.

Is They a Personal Pronoun?

  • They is a pronoun in the third person plural case.

Is Their a Personal Pronoun?

  • Their is a pronoun in the third person plural possessive case.

Is Our a Personal Pronoun.

  • Our is a pronoun in the first person singular possessive case.

Summary: What are Personal Pronouns?

Define personal pronoun: The definition of personal pronoun is a pronoun that refers to a particular person or thing.

In summary, personal pronouns replace specific nouns. They are only used after an antecedent has been identified. To determine which personal pronoun should be used, identify number, person, gender, and case.