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Pronouns in English: The Ultimate Pronoun List & Guide

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Cathy bought Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because Cathy couldn’t find Dreyer’s. 

Cathy’s name is used two times in this sentence, causing it to drone on. If I were to use a pronoun instead of her name the second time, it would sound much better:

Cathy bought Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because she couldn’t find Dreyer’s.

Three Scoops of Ice Cream

So, what is a pronoun? Here’s a pretty simple definition:

Pronouns allow you to mention the same noun in a sentence multiple times, without repeating the same word (which will begin to sound dull and redundant). 

There are several types of pronouns in English, which I’ll explain in this article with pronoun examples. These words will make your speech and writing seem more fluent and natural, so trust me when I say that taking the time to learn them well is a must! 

Before getting started with this English pronouns lesson, I suggest you take a look at this condensed Pronoun Vocabulary List, which includes cute images and pronunciation examples. 🙂 

It’s okay if you need to take a couple of breaks along the way. Take some deep breaths and know that you can do this. You’ll be glad you did.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in English Table of Contents
  1. Personal Pronouns
  2. Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Relative Pronouns
  6. Reciprocal Pronouns
  7. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Learn More English!

1. Personal Pronouns 

Introducing Yourself

The most common type of pronoun is the personal pronoun. Underneath the umbrella of personal pronouns, there are:

  • Subject pronouns
  • Object pronouns
  • Possessive pronouns
  • Reflexive & intensive pronouns

Each of these personal pronouns serve a different function in a clause or sentence, which I’ll explain below.

1- Subject Pronouns 

A subject pronoun is the subject of a sentence. This is the pronoun that performs an action, and there are both singular and plural forms.

Note that each of the words in the following English personal pronouns list performs an action (which is italicized) in the examples. 

Clothing in a Mall
SingularPlural
I

Meaning: 
Refers to a singular person speaking.

Example Sentence: 
I spent time with my family yesterday.
We

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people that includes you.

Example Sentence:
We went to Mt. St. Helens and the mall.
You

Meaning:
Refers to an individual you’re speaking to.

Example Sentence:
You are reading this article.
You

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people whom you’re speaking to.

Example Sentence:
“You really bought this for me?” Tom asked his friends.
He

Meaning:
Refers to a specified masculine individual.

Example Sentence:
He had to go to the bank last week.
They

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people that doesn’t include you. This is a gender-neutral pronoun.

Example Sentence:
They had no idea what to do.
She

Meaning:
Refers to a specified feminine individual.

Example Sentence:
She hasn’t come home yet.
It

Meaning:
Refers to a single, gender-neutral subject, usually an object or animal.

Example Sentence:
It ran away.

You may have noticed that there are no plural forms for the pronouns “He,” “She,” or “It.” While these pronouns are masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral, respectively, they can all be grouped under the gender-neutral plural pronoun “They.”

Take for example the sentence: “They had no idea what to do.” 

We have no idea who (or what) they are, or what their gender is. This could be a group of men, a group of women, a group of both men and women, or even a group of animals. “They” can be used for a couple or a group of anything, regardless of type or gender.

It is worth noting that “they” also sees use as a gender-neutral singular pronoun — both to refer to nonspecific people (“The doctor said they didn’t know what to do”) and as a preferred pronoun for specific people. Using the pronoun “it” can sound dehumanizing, so many prefer to use “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun when referring to people. Be careful, though — while its use is quite common in casual language, academics and style guides are still divided on whether the singular “they” is acceptable in formal language.

2- Object Pronouns

Object pronouns are those on the receiving end of a verb, and are typically used after the verb in a sentence or clause. 

Notice that two of these words are identical to those from the previous section: “You” and “it.” These words do not change form, whether they’re the subject or the object.

SingularPlural
Me

Meaning:
Refers to you as the speaker. It’s the object pronoun version of “I.”

Example Sentence:
My boyfriend bought chocolate for me.

Additional Notes:
Here, “me” is the object pronoun because the chocolate was bought for this person (this person isn’t the one buying it).
Us

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people that includes you. This is the object pronoun version of “we.”

Example Sentence:
Valerie always seems to get us lost.

Additional Notes:
Here, “us” is the object pronoun because the group, including the speaker, is lost due to Valerie (they don’t get themselves lost).
You

Meaning:
Refers to an individual you’re talking to, when they receive or are affected by an action.

Example Sentence:
Your friends looked everywhere and couldn’t find you.

Additional Notes:
Here, “you” is the object pronoun because this person is being looked for (and not looking for someone).
You

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people whom you’re speaking to when they receive or are affected by an action.

Example Sentence:
We tried to wait for you all!

Additional Note:
In the above sentence, the pronoun “you” is followed by the word “all,” to show that it’s a plural “you.” But more often than not, the word “all” will be omitted, as it’ll be clear a group is being spoken to. 

Fun Fact:
In some areas of the United States, particularly the southwest, people say y’all (a contraction of “you all”) and all y’all (“all of you all”).
Him

Meaning:
Refers to a masculine individual. This is the object pronoun version of “he.”

Example Sentence:
Sylvia showed him the movie.

Additional Notes:
Here, “him” is the object pronoun because 1) the person is male, and 2) the person is being shown something (not showing someone something).
Them

Meaning:
Refers to a group of people that doesn’t include you. This is a gender-neutral pronoun, and is the object pronoun version of “they.”

Example Sentence:
Sharla decided to go with them.

Additional Notes:
Here, “them” is the object pronoun because the group has someone going with them.
Her

Meaning:
Refers to a feminine individual. This is the object pronoun version of “she.”

Example Sentence:
Tom didn’t know what to buy her.

Additional Notes:
Here, “her” is the object pronoun because 1) the person is female, 2) and she is going to be receiving something (not the one who is going to buy something).
It

Meaning:
This refers to a gender-neutral objectindividual, when it receives or is affected by an action.

Example Sentence:
Nate saw the dog and petted it.

Additional Notes:
Here, “it” is the object pronoun because 1) the noun is gender-neutral, and 2) the dog is receiving the pet (and not petting something itself).
Dog Running Near Ocean

In each of the example sentences above, the underlined word is the object pronoun, and the italicized word is the verb or action being done to it. 

3- Possessive Pronouns

Next on our English pronouns list are possessive pronouns.

Possessive pronouns are used to show who owns something or who something belongs to. Possessive pronouns are also used as adjectives. This may sound confusing, but it really isn’t too hard!

As you look at the chart below, be sure to study the structure associated with possessive pronouns vs. possessive adjectives.

As a Pronoun

noun + be verb + possessive pronoun
As an Adjective

possessive pronoun + noun
Mine

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to you, the speaker.

Example Sentence:
Victory is mine.

Additional Note:
Be sure not to confuse this with the noun “mine” (referring to a place where something is dug up) or the verb “mine” (the act of digging). It’s entirely different in meaning.
My

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to you, the speaker.

Example Sentence:
That’s my umbrella.
Ours

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a group that includes you.

Example Sentence:
This problem is ours.
Our

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a group that includes you.

Example Sentence:
This is our house.
Yours

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to an individual you’re talking to.

Example Sentence:
That money is yours.
Your

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to an individual you’re talking to.

Example Sentence:
Is this your laptop?
His

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a male individual.

Example Sentence:
That book is his.
His

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a male individual.

Example Sentence:
That’s his dog.
Hers

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a female individual.

Example Sentence:
The toolbox is hers.
Her

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a female individual.

Example Sentence:
I don’t like her attitude.
Theirs

Meaning:
Used when something belongs to a group of people not including you.

Example Sentence:
They said that the car is theirs.
Their

Used when something belongs to a group of people not including you.

Example Sentence:
It was their idea!

4- Reflexive & Intensive Pronouns

Both reflexive and intensive pronouns end with the suffix -self (singular) or -selves (plural). However, they are used differently. 

Before going into detail about how to use them, here’s a chart showing the singular and plural forms of each reflexive and intensive pronouns. There are three things you should note: 

1) The forms for reflexive and intensive pronouns are identical when both singular and plural.

2) Only three pronouns have a plural form, which are “Your,” “Them,” and “Our.”

3) The pronoun “Our” can technically be used in singular form, though this is considered incorrect by some.

MyYourHimHerItThemOur
SingularMyselfYourselfHimselfHerselfItselfThemselfOurself
PluralXXXYourselvesXXXXXXXXXThemselvesOurselves

So, what’s the difference between reflexive and intensive pronouns? 

The biggest difference is that reflexive pronouns can’t be removed from the sentence and are necessary for the sentence to be correct. Intensive pronouns can be removed, and the sentence will still be correct. 

Here’s a chart to better explain this (note that I omitted the singular “Ourself” as this is generally incorrect):

MyselfYourself

Yourselves
HimselfHerselfItselfThemselvesOurselves
ReflexiveI’m all by myself.You should love yourself.



You should be ashamed of yourselves!
He cares about no one but himself.She treated herself to ice cream.The table moved all by itself!They can let themselves into the house.We hate ourselves for what we did.
IntensiveI corralled the horses all by myself.Did you make that yourself?

Are you, yourselves, going to the dance?
He wanted to escort her himself.She prepared everything herself.The only thing to fear is fear itself.Did they do that themselves?We paid for the bike ourselves.

Note that each of the example sentences using reflexive pronouns would make no sense if you took away the reflexive pronouns, whereas the intensive pronoun sentences would still completely make sense even without the intensive pronouns.

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that replace the antecedent noun in a sentence. Further, a demonstrative pronoun is one that demonstrates a noun, similar to what a person does through pointing or motioning in body language, but with words. For example, you can imagine someone pointing to something while saying “those.” 

Woman Pointing to Something on Computer Screen
MeaningExample SentenceAdditional Notes
This

[Singular]
“This” refers to something that’s nearby, or to the exact thing that one is experiencing.I can’t stand this traffic!“This” is used here because the word it references (traffic) is singular and is being experienced at that exact moment and place.
That

[Singular]
“That” usually refers to something farther away, like something you would point at.That strawberry looks funny.“That” is used here because the word it references (strawberry) is singular and is likely being pointed to or otherwise indicated.
These

[Plural]
“These” is the plural form of “this.”These bananas look good.“These” is used here because the word it references (bananas) is plural and is likely nearby (e.g. being held or directly looked at).
Those

[Plural]
“Those” is the plural form of “that.”Look at those bananas over there.“Those” is used here because the word it references (bananas) is plural and likely farther away, being pointed to or otherwise indicated.
Here“Here” is the equivalent of “this,” but relates only to location.Here is the money I owe you.“Here” is used in this sentence because the person likely has the money in-hand, and is, at that moment, giving it to the other person.
There“There” is the equivalent of “that,” but relates only to location.You can see the bank over there.“There” is used because the bank is probably in the distance, being pointed to or indicated.

3. Interrogative Pronouns

Basic Questions

Interrogative pronouns are used when asking a question, and are probably the easiest pronouns you’ll deal with for this reason. There are four basic interrogative pronouns: “What,” “Which,” “Who,” and “Where.” Note that “Who” can also change to “Whom” or “Whose” depending on the question being asked; I’ll go more into this later. 

For now, here’s an English pronouns chart that shows these interrogative pronouns in action! 

MeaningExample SentenceAdditional Notes
What“What” is typically used when asking for clarification on something.What did she say?“What” is used here because the speaker wants clarification on what the woman said.
Which“Which” is typically used when asking for someone to distinguish between two or more people/things.Which dress looks better on me?“Which” is used here because the speaker wants the listener to tell her, out of all the dresses, which one looks best on her.
Who / Whom / WhoseThe “Who” words are all used when asking specifically about a person.Who is that over there?

To whom should I address the letter?

Whose backpack is this?
Where“Where” is used when asking about direction or location.Where did I park the car?“Where” is used here because the speaker is asking about the location of their car.

Now, as promised, here’s information on the difference between who, whom, and whose.

Who is used when the person being asked about is the main subject.

Whom is used when the person being asked about is the one receiving (or who will receive) an action. In the example sentence, note the article “to” before the word whom. This indicates that something will happen to or be given to the person being asked about.

Whose is used when the question is about possession. Whose backpack, whose shirt, whose vehicle, etc. This is not to be confused with the conjunction “who’s,” which means “who is.”

4. Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are used when there’s no need to be specific. For example, if you’re talking about a group of people in your office who all play golf, you could say “everyone in my office plays golf.” Or when you need to know what time it is and don’t really care who gives you the time, you could ask “Can anyone tell me the time?”

Golf Ball Near Hole

Here’s a breakdown of how these words are created.

-one-body-where-thing
EveryEveryoneEverybodyEverywhereEverything
SomeSomeoneSomebodySomewhereSomething
NoNo oneNobodyNowhereNothing
AnyAnyoneAnybodyAnywhereAnything

Note that the prefixes are always “every-,” “some-,” “no-,” or “any-,” depending on what you’re trying to say. 

And the suffixes are always “-one,” “-body,” “-where,” or “-thing.”

In the chart below, I’ve categorized the indefinite pronouns by their suffix. 

MeaningExample SentenceAdditional Notes
Everyone“Everyone” refers to each person in a specified group of people.Everyone ignored the new girl at school.Each person at the school ignored the new girl.
Someone“Someone” refers to one individual in a group of people, specified or unspecified.Someone stopped to help the old lady cross the street.An individual helped an old lady.
No one“No one” means that no individual in a group of people is included. Another translation could be “not a single person.”No one is perfect.There’s not a single person who’s perfect.
Anyone“Anyone” refers to an unspecified individual in a group of people.“Is anyone here?” she asked.She wants to know if there’s a person there; she doesn’t really care who.
Everybody“Everybody” has the same meaning as “everyone.”“Could everybody please be quiet?” Stan yelled.Stan wants each person around him to be quiet.
Somebody“Somebody” has the same meaning as “someone.”Somebody knocked on the door.An unknown individual knocked on the door.
Nobody“Nobody” has the same meaning as “no one.”“Nobody move!” he said.He doesn’t want a single person to move.
Anybody“Anybody” has the same meaning as “anyone.”Does anybody have some spare change?The speaker is asking if any person has change.
Everywhere“Everywhere” refers to each place or area, none excluded.“I looked for it everywhere, and can’t find it,” Sue said.Sue has *supposedly* looked in each possible place for what she’s looking for.
Somewhere“Somewhere” refers to an individual place.“I just need to go away somewhere,” he said.He needs to go away, to an unspecified place (meaning he doesn’t really know where or doesn’t want to say).
Nowhere“Nowhere” could also be “not a single place.”“Nowhere” could also be “not a single place.”Not a single place is quiet enough for the speaker.
Anywhere“Anywhere” refers to an unspecified place.I don’t want to go anywhere right now.The speaker doesn’t care where the place is, they just don’t want to go.
Everything“Everything” refers to each one of something, or all of something.Some days, everything seems to go wrong.Some days, each possible thing will go wrong.
Something“Something” refers to an individual thing.“There’s something odd about that man,” they whispered.They think that the man is odd for some unspecified reason.
Nothing“Nothing” could also be “not a single thing.”Nothing would make me happier right now than some food.Not a single thing will make the speaker as happy as food will.
Anything“Anything” refers to an unspecified thing.“Is there anything else I can get you?” the waiter asked.The waiter doesn’t care what’s needed, but if the person he’s speaking to needs something, he’ll get it.

5. Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns connect a relative clause to an independent clause. In other words, they relate the noun to the noun’s significance.

There are five relative pronouns: “Which,” “That,” “Who,” “Whom,” and “Whose.”

MeaningExample SentenceAdditional Notes
Which“Which” is used in nonrestrictive clauses, meaning that the noun it precedes is not limited to only that thing. Typically, it’s used to add information to that noun in terms of the rest of the clause.It was her love which set him free.Here, “which” is used because it’s explaining what her love did. It added information.
That“That” is used in restrictive clauses, meaning that the noun it indicates is specific and limited to only that thing.I see the dog that we wanted to adopt.Here, “that” is used because the person is talking about a specific dog they wanted to adopt. The speaker isn’t talking about any other dog, only this one.
Who“Who” is used when talking about a specific person as the subject of a sentence (the one who did or is doing something).That’s the woman who stole your inheritance!
Whom“Whom” is used when the person being talked about is the object of an action, or was affected by an action.Is that the man whom you dated?
Whose“Whose” is used when specifying the person who owns something.Isn’t she the one whose house caught on fire?

6. Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are used when two (or more) nouns are being replaced at once, usually when both are performing an action in terms of the other person. There are only two of these pronouns: “each other” and “one another.”

  • Each other 
    • Bob and Joe hit each other.
One Kid about to Punch Another Kid
  • One another
    • “Why can’t you get along with one another?” their mother asked.
    • Note that “you” here is used in its plural form, as the mother is talking to both of her children.

And that’s all there is to it! 

7. Conclusion: How EnglishClass101 Can Help You Learn More English!

Improve Listening

Pronouns are one of the most difficult aspects of English for those seeking to learn the language—it’s even difficult for native English-speakers! 

Once you learn the English pronouns rules, their patterns, and the similarities between different English pronouns and their uses, they will become much easier. I promise! And don’t fret if you mess up sometimes. As long as you’re aware of your errors and keep striving to be better, you’re on the right track.

Now that you’ve reached the end, reward yourself with your favorite treat or activity. You’ve more than earned it! 😉

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Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about English pronouns now. Did our pronoun list help you at all? It’s a lot to take in, so let us know if there’s anything you’re struggling with. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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