What are pronouns?, English

What are pronouns?

Pronouns are very closely related to nouns. They do all the jobs that nouns do, plus some special work that only a pronoun can do.

We often use pronouns to replace nouns in a sentence when we don’t want to keep repeating a noun.

Using a pronoun helps us avoid repetition. There are many different kinds of pronouns, but all of them take the place of nouns. (For an explanation of personal, interrogative, demonstrative, and indefinite pronouns, please see Basics.)

How do I use a pronoun as the subject of a sentence?
Subjective pronouns are used to replace the subject of a sentence. Subjective pronouns can be singular (one) or plural (more than one).

Singular

I (called "1st person")
You (called "2nd person")
She (called "3rd person feminine")
He (called "3rd person masculine")
It (called "3rd person neuter")

Plural

We (called "1st person")
You (called "2nd person")
They (called "3rd person")

Notice:

  • 1st person is the one or ones talking.
  • 2nd person is the one or ones being spoken to. In English, the plural and singular forms of the second person subjective pronouns are the same. If you speak another language, that language may have different pronouns for these two meanings.
  • 3rd person is the one or ones spoken about. We have different pronouns to replace masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. In English, nouns are not masculine or feminine unless they refer to a specific male or female person or animal. This is different from other languages where ordinary, common nouns are thought of as masculine and feminine, even when there is no relationship to any person. This is one area in which English is easier than some other languages! When we refer to third person in the plural, there is only one pronoun regardless of the gender of those being spoken about.
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