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Personal Pronouns (All Cases) | (B-Level, Intermediate)

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Person Singular Plural
Subject I, you, he, she, it we, you (you all), they
Object me, you, him, her, it us, you, them
Possessive (determiner) my, your, his, her, its our, your, their
Possessive (pronoun) mine, yours, his, hers, — ours, yours, theirs
Reflexive myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself ourselves, yourselves, themselves

First, Second, and Third Person

In grammar, the pronouns are called first, second, and third person. The pronouns are also singular or plural when they refer to one person (I, you, he, she, it) or multiple people (we, you, they).

First person pronouns singular and plural are “I” and “we." The first person is refers to the person or persons who speaking.

Second person pronoun “you” is both singular and plural. The second person refers to the person you are addressing.

Third person pronouns are both singular (”he,” “she,” “it”) and plural (”they”). The third person refers to the person you and I are talking about.


The grammatical case of a pronoun refers to the function of the pronoun in the sentence.


The subject is the person or thing acting on the verb. The verb is conjugated based on the grammatical subject. It is also referred to as the nominative case.

The passive voice presents an interesting situation. In the passive voice (e.g., “The robbers were surprised by the homeowner”) the grammatical subject of the verb actually receives or is affected by the action or state expresses by the verb (it was the homeowner who surprised the robbers). Yet, the grammatical subject still determines how the verb is conjugated.

Subjective pronouns



he, she, it


you, you all



We are from the United States.

Do you speak English?

He speaks French, but she can only speak English.


The object is the recipient of the action or effect expressed by the verb. Prepositions are also followed by the objective case, which is also known as the accusative (direct object) and dative (indirect object) cases.

The object case is used after prepositions (after me, unlike her, beneath us).

Objective pronouns



him, her, it





Please give me that box.

Please give it to me.

We saw them at the store yesterday.


Possessive Determiners

Possessive determiners (my, your, her, their) indicate that a word has a relationship of ownership to the determiner. They can also indicate a relationship or association. (This is discussed further later in the unit.) Although these are determiners rather than true pronouns, they are included in the paradigm.

Possessive determiners



his, her, its





Can you see my house.

Joanne and her husband are coming over.

Nice dog! What’s its name?

The children and their friends want to go out and play.

Possessive Pronouns

Unlike possessive determiners, possessive pronouns (mine, yours, hers, theirs) are true pronouns as they replace a noun or pronoun. As with possessive determiners, possessive pronouns show ownership (my car), a relationship (her husband), or an association (our hair).

Possessive pronouns



his, hers, —





John’s house is very large. Mine is small.

Is this box mine or yours?

— Are these your parent’s coats?
— No, I don’t think these are theirs.

Double Possessives or Double Genitives

Double possessives show possession by using both the preposition “of” and a possessive pronoun or by using “of" and a noun and an apostrophe S (’s).

For example, when you say, “Peter is John’s friend,” you can use a simple possessive pronoun, “Peter is his friend” or a double genitive, “John is a friend of his.”

Double possessives are often considered unnecessary; however, they can differ from the simple possessive depending on the context. “This is John’s picture” could mean (1) that the picture belongs to John (thus indicating ownership) or (2) that John is in the picture (thus indicating an association). In the case of ownership, the double possessive makes the meaning clear, “This is a picture of John’s” (the picture is his).

Examples using double possessives

All of these are paintings of mine.

Is this a project of yours?

— Is Ann is a friend of John’s.
 In fact, she’s a long lost love of his.

Is photography an interest of your parents’?
  Yes, it’s actually an obsession of theirs.

Reflexive pronouns (Object)

Reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, yourselves, themselves) has a role similar to that of an object. At the same time, reflexive pronouns indicate that the subject’s action affects the subject itself.

Another use of reflexive pronouns is for emphasis only. For example, when you say, “I myself called him,” you emphasize that you called, not anyone else.

Reflexive pronouns can also be used to mean you do something alone or without any help (for example, “Students must complete their work themselves so that they can learn.”) You can also use reflexive pronouns with the preposition “by” (for example, “My coworker is sick, so I have to deliver the presentation all by myself”).

Reflexive pronouns



himself, herself, itself




Examples using reflexive pronouns

I cut myself while cooking dinner last night.

The fire burned itself out.

My parents bought themselves a motorcycle!

Examples meaning “alone” or “without help”

You don’t need help. I’m sure you can do it yourself.

My husband is out of town, so I have to eat by myself.

Teresa lives by herself, so she takes care of her house herself.

Examples using reflexive pronouns for emphasis

John himself told me the story.

My doctor herself will perform the surgery.

The printer itself was inexpensive, but price for the ink was exorbitant.

My students themselves came up with a solution to this problem.


Note that all singular forms end in -self whereas all plural forms end in -selves. You must make a difference between “yourself” and “yourselves” when addressing one or more than one person.

A common mistake is to use “their-” instead of “themselves.”


Practice 1. Fill in the blanks with the pronouns and determiners covered in this lesson.

Practice 2. Fill in the blanks with the pronouns and determiners covered in this lesson.

Practice 3. Fill in the blanks with the pronouns and determiners covered in this lesson.

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