Personal pronoun

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Personal pronouns are very direct substitutes for nouns and may be the easiest of the pronouns for a beginner to understand. They are words like 'he', 'she' and 'it'. There are personal pronouns for each person, 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and in both singular and plural forms.

Personal pronouns are one of the very few kinds of word in English which are inflected for case - that is, they come in three forms.

  • One (for example 'I') is the subjective form, used for whoever is 'doing' the action of the verb in the sentence;
  • another case, for example, 'me' is the objective form - the person to whom it is being 'done'; and
  • the third form ('mine', 'my') says 'belonging to' (the possessive). The possessive is usually used, like an adjective, with a noun.
The adjectival form is used with a noun. In the first person singular, it is 'my'. It means "This [noun] belongs to me." (Some grammarians label this the determinative form.)
The adjectival, or determinative, form should not be confused with the independent form, mine, that needs no noun.
The possessive form is often treated as a word class in its own right, the possessive pronoun.
  • reflexive pronouns are the form of the personal pronoun that refers back to itself, as myself is the reflexive form of I, me or mine. Reflexive pronouns add the suffix '-self' to a personal pronoun.

AWE contains a table of personal pronouns of the personal pronouns in English, as well as a list of archaic usages, those you may see in older English.