Personal Pronouns — Definition, Types, and Examples
What is a personal pronoun?
A personal pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of proper nouns referring to people or things. Certain personal pronouns can also replace objects, places, and ideas. In English, personal pronouns show the grammatical person, gender, number, and case of the noun or noun phrase they replace.
Personal pronouns fall into one of three points of view.
|Point of view||Use||Example|
|First-person||Refers to the speaker||I ran down the hall.|
|Second-person||Refers to the person being spoken to||You ran down the hall.|
|Third-person||Refers to the person being spoken of||He ran down the hall.|
Types of personal pronouns
There are various factors that impact the appropriate type of personal pronoun, including number and gender.
Number and gender are determined from the pronoun's antecedent — the word the pronoun replaces later in the sentence.
If a pronoun's antecedent includes only one item, then the pronoun is singular.
She studied all night for the exam.
In the sentence above, the antecedent is one or a singular person, so we have a singular pronoun.
If a pronoun's antecedent includes more than one item, then the pronoun is plural.
They studied all night for the exam.
Here, the antecedent is multiple people, so we use a plural pronoun.
If the antecedent is male, female, or gender-neutral (neuter), we must use the appropriate gender pronouns:
|Male||He opened the door.|
|Female||She opened the door.|
|Gender-neutral (neuter)||They opened the door.|
Personal pronoun cases
There are two cases of personal pronouns – subject pronouns (nominative case) and object pronouns (objective case).
Subject pronouns replace the name of the subject in the sentence. Subject pronouns include:
Here is a basic example sentence using a subject pronoun:
We wanted to visit the city.
Object pronouns replace the object in a sentence. Object pronouns include:
An example sentence using an object pronoun is:
My dad will drive us home.
Possessive personal pronouns
Possessive personal pronouns replace a noun and indicate ownership. A possessive personal pronoun replaces a possessive determiner, and a noun (e.g., “your pencil” becomes “yours”).
Possessive personal pronouns include:
Personal pronoun examples
|Point of view||Singular||Plural|
|First-person||I, Me||We, Us|
|Third-person||She, Her, He, Him, It, They, Them||They, Them|
|Gender||She, Her, Hers, He, Him, His||They, Them|
|Subject||I, You, He, She, It||We, They|
|Object||Me, You, Her, Him, It||Us, Them|
|Possessive||Mine, Yours, His, Hers||Ours, Theirs|
Personal pronoun example sentences
The following sentences include examples of personal pronouns:
Singular: I thought it would be best if we left earlier in the day.
Plural: We wanted to sleep in instead of leaving so early.
Singular: You are a very good friend.
Plural: You are very good friends.
Singular: Melanie thought she would have more time to study.
Plural: The class thought they would have more time to study.
Singular: He wanted to spend the summer in Hawaii.
Plural: They wanted to spend the summer traveling Europe.
Singular: I really enjoyed the show.
Plural: They found the show to be rather dull.
Please, give the apple to me.
Plural: Because the apples were so good, we ate all of them.
Singular: This is Steve's book; hers is over there.
Plural: We knew that the rest of the day was ours to do as we pleased.
Learn about other types of pronouns like possessive pronouns, interrogative pronouns, and reflexive pronouns.