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Personal Pronouns

What are Personal Pronouns?
Personal pronouns are words that represent specific nouns (the names of people, places or things). They are useful in avoiding repetition and helping ease the flow of sentences. They are used in a sentence when the name of the noun has been already mentioned.

For example:
Alice bought new, velvet curtains for her house. She is extremely fond of them. She  keeps inviting her friends to show them off. 

In the second and third sentence, there are two personal pronouns. The personal pronoun "she" takes the place of "Alice" while the personal pronoun "them" takes the place of "curtains."


Types of Personal Pronouns

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1. Subjective Personal Pronouns
    Subjective pronouns are used as subjects of verbs and replace the name of the subject in the sentence. They include I, you,            heshe, it, we, and they.
    For example:
  • You seem happy about your favourite team winning the rugby match.
  • We were really furious about losing the contract to a less deserving company.

2. Objective Personal Pronouns
    Objective pronouns are used as objects of verbs and represent the object in the sentence. They include me, you, himher, it,          us and them.

     For example:
  • Susan bought a cycle and it got stolen within a week.
  • I knew her to be a miser.

List of Personal Pronouns

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We use personal pronouns depending on the number, person, gender and case.
  • number: singular (I) or plural (we)
  • person: first person (I), second person (you) or third person (he)
  • gender: male (he), female (she) or neuter (it
  • case: subject (we) or object (us)

Here is a list of personal pronouns:

     Number              Person                     Gender                  
        Personal Pronouns      

 Subject  Object
 Singular  First  male/female   I  Me
 Second   male/female   You  You
 Third  Male  He   Him
 Female  She  Her
 Neuter  It  It
 Plural  First   male/female  We  Us
 Second  male/female  You  You
 Third  male/female/neuter   They  Them

Personal Pronouns Examples

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Here are some examples of personal pronouns. In the sentences below, the pronouns are in boldface.
  1. I prefer tea to coffee. (subject pronoun)
  2. Sandra helped me in doing my assignment. (object pronoun)
  3. Do you like artificial flavours in your food? (subject pronoun)
  4. Tim likes you as a football player. (object pronoun)

Selecting Personal Pronouns
We often make errors while selecting personal pronouns such as I/me or It/he/she. Remember to pay close attention to the antecedent (the noun that is replaced) to avoid errors.

For example:
  • Susana is the prefect of her school. She effectively delivered a speech on the benefits of eating healthy. 
  • In the above sentence, "Susana" is the antecedent to the personal pronoun "she."
It is important to select the right personal pronoun that agrees in number (singular or plural), person (first, second, or third person), gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), and case (subject, object, possessive).

Use of I or Me in a sentence

       1. Jarrod and I are working together on the latest assignment on eco diversity.
           Here, we use "I" and not “me” because “I” is part of the subject of the sentence.
       2. They finally submitted their long overdue report on global warming to me. 
           Here, we use “me” because it is the object of the sentence.

Use of It or he/she in a sentence
It is not always used to refer to a single thing or introduce a remark. A pet animal is referred to as he/him or she/her and some countries and vehicles (ships, cars, bikes) are often treated as female and referred to as she/her.
Here are some examples:
  • Meet my dog Bruno. He is the light of my life. (dog is referred to as ‘he’ rather than ‘it’)
  • India needs to forge better ties with her neighbours. (country is referred to as ‘her’)
  • I am really fond of my new car. She is a delight to watch. (car is referred to as ‘she’)

Test Yourself

I. Underline t
he personal noun and circle the noun it replaces.
  1. My friend and I decided to spend the day outdoors. We had a great time by the lake.
  2. My parents have made me what I am today. I owe a lot to them.
  3. Does your sister know about the mishap? Have you told her yet?
  4. Am I doing this the right way? Yes, you are absolutely on the right track.
  5. The door is jammed. I cannot open it.

II. Select the option (I or me) that best suits the sentence. Remember to check if the pronoun is in subject or object position to decide the correct answer.
  1. The exhibitors gave a friend and ______ tickets to the art museum.
  2. Justin, Kevin and _______ went to a weekend beach party.
  3. We were playing baseball in the neighbourhood and inadvertently broke a window pane. Julia and _______ were too scared to own up.
  4. Did I hear them right? Were they really paying ______ so much?
  5. Karen and _____ are good friends. She writes to ______ once a month and ____ do the same.
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