Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun. They often are used to take the place of a person or object as the subject or object of a sentence. They also can be used to indicate possession or reflexively (towards oneself). 

First, Second, And Third Person

The words first, second, and third are used to explain who is talking or being talked about. In simple terms, first person is the person talking, second person is the person listening, and third person is who or what is being talked about. 

For example: I am talking to you about English grammar.

  • I = First person, the writer
  • You = Second person, the reader
  • English grammar = Third person, what is being talked about

Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns are used to replace the subject of a sentence. The subject is the person or thing that is doing the action.

For example:

  • “Stacy is going to the store.” can be changed to: “She is going to the store.”  She takes the place of Stacy.
  • “Bob and I are going to swim.”  can be changed to “We are going to swim.” We can replace Bob and I.

First Person Singular

IFirst Person Plural (part of a group)We
Second Person SingularYouSecond Person PluralYou
Third Person SingularHe/She/ItThird Person PluralThey

“You” – second person pronoun

Unlike many languages, English uses the same word for both singular and plural second person: you. When talking directly to another person or group of people, “you” is the same regardless if it is one person or a group of ten people. Also, English does not make a distinction between formal and informal for the second person pronoun.

So while a language like Spanish has tú (singular, informal), usted (singular, formal), vosotros (plural, informal, only used in some countries), and ustedes (plural, formal), English has one word for all of those situations: “you”.

English speakers have many ways of modifying the pronoun “you” to show that its plural form is intended. The most common expressions are “you all” or “you guys” although that form is becoming less popular as some feel using the masculine word “guys” is not inclusive.

Object Pronouns

Object pronouns are used to replace the object of a sentence. The object is the person or thing that is affected by the action.

For example:

  • “He gave me the book.” (The object is “me.”)
  • “She is talking to them.” (The object is “them.”)

First Person Singular

MeFirst Person Plural (part of a group)Us
Second Person SingularYouSecond Person PluralYou
Third Person SingularHim/Her/ItThird Person PluralThem

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show that someone or something belongs to someone.

For example:

  • “That car is mine.” (The pronoun “mine” shows that the car belongs to the speaker.)
  • “This book is hers.” (The pronoun “hers” shows that the book belongs to her.)


First Person Singular

MineFirst Person Plural (part of a group)Ours
Second Person SingularYoursSecond Person PluralYours
Third Person SingularHis/Hers/ItsThird Person PluralTheirs

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object of a sentence are the same. They are formed by adding “-self” or “-selves” to the subject pronoun. Notice that this is the only time that the pronoun for second person is different for singular and plural.

For example:

  • “I hurt myself.” (The subject “I” and the object “myself” are the same.)
  • “They are enjoying themselves.” (The subject “they” and the object “themselves” are the same.)


First Person Singular

MyselfFirst Person Plural (part of a group)Ourselves
Second Person SingularYourselfSecond Person PluralYourselves
Third Person SingularHimself/Herself/ItselfThird Person PluralTheirself