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Personal Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

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Personal Pronouns



Hello! In this lesson, we will learn personal pronouns. Personal pronouns are words which refer to ourselves and the people around us without using names. Pronouns also allow us to refer to groups of people without having to name each person individually.

Let us start by introducing each of the personal pronouns and learning how we use each. The personal pronouns are: “I, you, he, she, we,” and “they”. Each of these pronouns refers either to ourselves, an individual, or a group of people. Pronouns are neither formal nor informal.

The pronoun “I” is used to refer to ourselves. In a previous lesson we learned the common responses “I am fine” and “I am well” to answer the question “How are you?” In each case, “I” is used to refer to oneself.

We encounter the next pronoun “you” in the question “How are you?” “you” refers to the person or group of people that we are speaking to. “you” is the same whether it is used to refer to a individual or a group of people, and is used for persons of either gender.

The difference is discerned by the context of the conversation. For example, if we are talking to one person then “you” refers only to that individual, but if we are speaking to a group of people then “you” refers to all of them equally.

“he” is a pronoun used to refer only to a male individual. Examples of using “he” in a sentence are “He is a man.”, “He is hungry.” ,and “He is old.”

“she” is a pronoun used to refer only to a female individual. Examples of using “she” in a sentence are “She is a woman.”, “She is hungry.” ,and “She is old.”

“we” is a pronoun used to refer to a group of two or more people of which we are a part. Examples of using “we” in a sentence are “We are men.”, “We are hungry.” ,and “We are old.”

Finally, “they” is a pronoun used to refer to a group of two or more people of which we are not a part. Examples of using “they” in a sentence are “They are men.”, “They are hungry.” ,and “They are old.”


Now that we have a basic understanding of what the personal pronouns are, let us become more familiar with their use in a short dialog. In this dialog David and Jennifer meet each other for breakfast at a restaurant. While listening to this dialog, pay special attention to the pronouns that are used.


David: Good morning Jennifer. How are you?

Jennifer:Hello David. I am well. How are you?

David: I am fine, thank you. Are you hungry?

Jennifer: Yes, I am very hungry. Are you hungry, also?

David: Yes, I am also hungry. We can eat breakfast now.

Jennifer: They serve a delicious breakfast in this restaurant.

David: Excellent, let's eat!


Now let's look at each sentence more closely. The first two sentences are simple greetings and should be familiar from Lesson 1. Let us look closer at the use of pronouns in each sentence. After greeting Jennifer,

David asks “How are you?” In this case, David uses “you” to refer to “Jennifer”. This sentence is exactly the same as David saying “How is Jennifer?”, except that this form would sound strange.

Then, Jennifer greets David and responds “I am well.” In this case, “I” is used by Jennifer to refer to herself.

Jennifer then asks David “How are you?”, where “you” refers now to David. In these sentences we hear David and Jennifer repeatedly referring to each other as “you” and to themselves as “I”.

Jennifer then says, “We can eat breakfast now.” In this case, “we” is used to refer to both David and himself as a group.

David says, “They serve a delicious breakfast in this restaurant.” In this case, “they” is used to refer to the group of people who work at the restaurant.

Let us listen to this dialog once again and pay special attention to the personal pronouns that are used.

David: Good morning Jennifer. How are you?

Jennifer:Hello David. I am well. How are you?

David: I am fine, thank you. Are you hungry?

Jennifer: Yes, I am very hungry. Are you hungry, also?

David: Yes, I am also hungry. We can eat breakfast now.

Jennifer: They serve a delicious breakfast in this restaurant.

David: Excellent, let's eat!


Very good. Now that you have a basic understanding of this conversation, it is time to reinforce these words in your mind and to begin speaking in English.