What Are Personal Pronouns?
Personal pronouns are those that have a grammatical person, number, and gender. These pronouns refer to specific individuals or things and are used to replace nouns in a sentence.
Each personal pronoun has a particular:
Grammatical person is related to the different ways we can refer to the participant(s) in an event.
In English grammar, we have three distinct persons:
- first-person: the participant is the
speaker(s)→ I, me, we
- second-person: the participant is the
addressee(s)→ you, yourselves
- third-person: the participant is the
other(s)→ he, her, himself, they, them
In English, first-, second-, and third-person pronouns are typically also divided into two groups:
- singular forms → I, me, myself, she, him, itself
- plural forms → we, us, yourselves, they, themselves
Grammatical gender is a system in which nouns or pronouns are divided into different categories based on their gender value. Some languages, such as Spanish or French, have a grammatical gender system where nouns or pronouns are classified as masculine or feminine. While English does not have a grammatical gender system for nouns, it does have gender-specific pronouns for people.
- Masculine → he, him, himself
- Feminine → she, her, herself
- Neutral → we, it, they
The case of a noun or pronoun is that particular noun’s or pronoun’s relationship to other words in the sentence. In other modern languages, adjectives have case, but in English, case applies only to nouns and pronouns. Old English had five cases: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental.
Modern English has three cases:
- Nominative (also called subjective): used for the subject of a sentence or for predicate nominatives
- Accusative (also called objective): used for the direct object of a verb or for the object of a preposition.
- Genitive (also called possessive): used to show possession or ownership.
'I' is the subject (nominative)
The book is on the
table is the object of the preposition (accusative)
the tail belongs to the cat (possessive)
In English, there are often multiple ways to express a grammatical or lexical concept, and the choice of form depends on the level of formality. For example:
"Would you like some tea?" vs. "Wanna cuppa?"
making an offer in formal style
making an offer in informal style
In these examples, the same concept is expressed in different ways depending on the level of formality. The polite/formal expressions are appropriate in more formal settings, such as in business or academic contexts, while the informal/casual expressions are more common in everyday conversation among friends or family. The choice of form can also depend on factors such as the relationship between the speaker and the listener, the situation, and the purpose of communication.
Object pronouns are personal pronouns that are used typically as a grammatical object: the direct or indirect object of a verb, or the object of a preposition. In the table below, you can see the list of object personal pronouns:
Possessive pronouns are a type of personal pronoun that indicate ownership or possession of something by someone. They can be used to replace possessive adjectives (such as 'my,' 'your,' 'his,' 'her,' 'its,' 'our,' and 'their') and help to make sentences more concise.
Possessive pronouns are often used to avoid repetition, especially when referring back to something that has already been mentioned. The following table displays a list of possessive pronouns and their respective possessive adjectives in English:
|possessive adjective||possessive pronoun|
Reflexive pronouns are personal pronouns ending in -self or -selves that are used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same. They can act as either objects or indirect objects. In the table below, you can see the list of reflexive personal pronouns:
Like every other word, personal pronouns, mainly the second person, have gone through changes over time. Along with the standard, non-standard, and informal personal pronouns in English, there are also archaic pronouns which were used in the past, but are now mostly replaced by standard pronouns. While these forms are no longer commonly used in modern English, they can still be found in literature, historical documents, and some dialects.
Personal pronouns are words that are used to refer to a person, animal, or object in place of a noun. They can take on different forms depending on various factors such as their number (singular or plural), case, gender, and formality.
Number refers to whether the pronoun is singular (referring to one person or thing) or plural (referring to multiple people or things). Case refers to the grammatical function of the pronoun in a sentence, such as whether it is the subject or object of a verb. Gender refers to the distinction between masculine, feminine, and neuter pronouns, although English only has gender-specific pronouns for people. Formality refers to the level of politeness or formality of the pronoun, such as using 'you' versus 'thou' in older forms of English.
- Subject Pronouns
- Object Pronouns
- Possessive Pronouns
- Reflexive Pronouns
- Archaic Pronouns
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Pronouns that are used in the position of a subject in sentences are called subject pronouns. In this article, you find all your answers about subject pronouns.
Pronouns that can take the place of an object are called object pronouns. In this article, you will get to know different kinds of object pronouns.
A demonstrative pronoun is a pronoun mostly used to point to something based on its distance from the speaker. In English, these pronouns have four forms.
Reflexive Pronouns are used to show that the subject and object of a sentence are exactly the same person or thing or there is a direct connection between them.