English as an Additional Language/Personal pronouns

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English has 6 personal pronouns.

Subject Personal Pronouns[edit]

Subject Pronouns are words that replace subject nouns or subject noun phrases.

I - first person singular (yo, eu, je, ich, أنا)
You - second person singular (tú (usted)*, tu (você)*, tu, du, أنت)
He/She/It - third person singular (el/ella, ele/ela, il/elle, er/sie/es, هى/هو)
We - first person plural (nosotros, nós, nous, wir, نحن)
You - second person plural - rarely used (vosotros (ustedes)*, vós (vocês)*, vous, ihr/Sie, انتم\انتن)
They - third person plural (ellos/ellas, eles/elas, ils/elles, sie, هم\هن)

(*) formal


Subject Pronouns Singular (Number) Plural (Number)
First Person I We
Second Person You You
Third Person
Masculine (Gender): He
Feminine (Gender): She
Neuter (No Gender): It
They


Subject Pronouns replace subject nouns.[edit]

Consider these two sentences:

 Charles picks flowers from the garden.
 He picks flowers from the garden.

Charles is a noun. Charlie is also the subject of the sentence
Therefore, Charles is a subject noun. Because Charles is a male personal name, the subject of the sentence is male in gender.

'He is a subject pronoun, describing male nounds. He replaces Charles.

Subject Pronouns replace subject noun phrases.[edit]

Consider these two sentences:

* BIRDS FROM CANADA fly south in the winter.
* THEY fly south in the winter.

BIRDS FROM CANADA is a noun phrase. BIRDS FROM CANADA is also the subject.
Therefore, BIRDS FROM CANADA is a subject noun phrase.

THEY is a subject pronoun. THEY replaces BIRDS FROM CANADA.

Subject pronouns agree with the PERSON and NUMBER of subject nouns[edit]

Pronouns are either FIRST person, SECOND person, or THIRD person.

Pronouns have NUMBER. This means pronouns are either SINGULAR or PLURAL.

Consider these two sentences:

* JOHN AND I went to the movies.
* WE saw Spiderman II.

JOHN AND I is the subject.
JOHN AND I is FIRST PERSON.
JOHN AND I is also PLURAL.

WE is the FIRST PERSON, PLURAL subject pronoun. WE replaces JOHN AND I.

Subjects which are third person and singular must agree with the GENDER of the noun as well.[edit]

Third Person, SINGULAR Pronouns replace People or Things.
People can be men or women. Men have a MASCULINE GENDER. Women have a FEMININE GENDER.
Things are not people. In English, things usually have NO GENDER (neuter).

Note: ALL third person, PLURAL Pronouns are the same (THEY).

Consider these sentences:

* CINDY ran three miles on the beach.
* SHE usually runs five miles.

CINDY is a woman. A woman has a FEMININE GENDER.
Therefore, CINDY is THIRD PERSON, SINGLE, and FEMININE.

SHE is the THIRD PERSON, SINGLE, FEMININE Subject Pronoun. SHE replaces CINDY.

Consider these sentences:

* BOB watched nine hours of television.
* HE didn't run three miles on the beach.

BOB is a man. A man has a MASCULINE GENDER.
Therefore, BOB is THIRD PERSON, SINGLE, and MASCULINE.

HE is the THIRD PERSON, SINGLE, MASCULINE Subject Pronoun. HE replaces BOB.

The third person, single pronoun for most non-human (things) nouns or noun phrases is IT.

* THE CAR is very dirty.
* IT needs a car wash.

THE CAR is a thing. Things have NO Gender.
Therefore, THE CAR is THIRD PERSON, SINGLE, but NO GENDER.

IT is the THIRD PERSON, SINGLE Subject Pronoun for things with NO GENDER. IT replaces THE CAR.

Never use IT to refer to a person! Use HE if the person is a man. Use SHE if the person is a woman.

If the gender of the person being referred to is unknown or if one wants to refer generically to people, they is often used.

* Whoever THEY were; they did a good job.