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.

There are no apostrophes in personal pronouns.

What is a personal pronoun

Personal pronouns fall into one of three points of view.

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.

Table of Contents

[hide]
  1. Definition
  2. Types
  3. Examples

Types of personal pronouns

There are a variety of 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:

Gender pronouns examples
Gender Example
Male He opened the door.
Female She opened the door.
Gender neutral (neuter) They opened the door.
“They” and “them” are typically plural pronouns; however, they have become acceptable to use as singular personal pronouns when gender is unknown.

Gendered pronouns

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:

  • You
  • He
  • She
  • It
  • We
  • They

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:

  • Me
  • You
  • Her
  • Him
  • It
  • Us
  • Them

An example sentence using an object pronoun is:

My dad will drive us home.

Personal pronoun cases

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:

  • Mine
  • Yours
  • His
  • Hers
  • Ours
  • Theirs

Personal pronoun examples

Examples of personal pronouns:
Point of view Singular Plural
First-person I, Me We, Us
Second-person You You
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

Examples of personal pronouns

Personal pronoun example sentences

The following sentences include examples of personal pronouns:

First-Person

  • 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.

Second-Person

  • Singular: You are a very good friend.
  • Plural: You are very good friends.

Third-Person

  • Singular: Melanie thought she would have more time to study.
  • Plural: The class thought they would have more time to study.

Gender

  • Singular: He wanted to spend the summer in Hawaii.
  • Plural: They wanted to spend the summer traveling Europe.

Subject

  • Singular: I really enjoyed the show.
  • Plural: They found the show to be rather dull.

Object

  • Singular: Please, give the apple to me.
  • Plural: Because the apples were so good, we ate all of them.

Possessive

  • 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.

What you learned:

After working your way through this lesson and video, you have learned:

  • What personal pronouns are
  • The different types of personal pronouns
  • How and when to use various personal pronouns
Instructor: Malcolm M.
Malcolm has a Master's Degree in education and holds four teaching certificates. He has been a public school teacher for 27 years, including 15 years as a mathematics teacher.

20+ English Tutors in Ashburn, VA

Get better grades with tutoring from top-rated private tutors. Local and online.


View Tutors
Tutors online
Ashburn, VA

20+ English Tutors are available to help

Get better grades with tutoring from top-rated professional tutors. 1-to-1 tailored lessons, flexible scheduling. Get help fast. Want to see the tutors near you?