A pronoun is a word used to substitute at least one noun. The pronoun refers to someone or something that was mentioned earlier. The word that the pronoun replaces is named the antecedent. An example can be seen in the following sentence:

  • I threw the ball up, and it came back to me. (The antecedent is ball, and since I already mentioned the ball earlier in the sentence I can replace ball with it at the end of the sentence.)

One specific type of pronoun is a personal pronoun, or a pronoun used to refer to a person or thing. Under this category there are subject, object, reflexive, possessive, interrogative, and relative pronouns. Most of these pronouns will be covered later in this grammar tutorial, so for now we will focus on subject and object pronouns.  replace the name of the subject of a verb. Let’s look at some subject pronouns first.

  • Singular: I, you, she, he, it
  • Plural: We, you, they
  • Example: Joan and Tony went to the store. They purchased enough food for the party. (They is the subject pronoun that stands in for Joan and Tony. Replacing their names with the subject pronoun helps avoid awkward repetition.)

As you can see in the example above, subject pronouns replace the name of the subject of a verb. 

Object pronouns, which are used to replace the object in the sentence (the noun that receives the action from the verb), are the other type of personal pronoun we will review here: 

  • Singular: me, you, her, him, it
  • Plural: us, you, them
  • Example: The students gave me a present.
  • Example: “What did you do with the brush?” “I put it over there.” 

Lastly, in addition to singular and plural, personal pronouns can be divided into three types: first-person, second-person, and third-person. The first-person refers to the one speaking or writing: I explain pronouns. The second person is used to talk about a person that is not me. In other words, you: Can you remember the pronouns we’re reviewing? The third person, as you might have guessed, is used when talking about other people or things that do not include the speaker: They are going to practice pronouns. Here is a useful chart that you can reference throughout this grammar tutorial: Personal Pronouns Chart


Last revised on June 19, 2019.