How to use an English pronouns chart to speak more clearly

How to use an English pronouns chart to speak more clearly

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated November 15, 2022

One of the best tools you can add to your toolbox when practicing English is an English pronouns chart. But what exactly are English pronouns? Pronouns are words we use to talk about a person or thing without having to use their full name time and time again. Pronouns help make our sentences simpler and less repetitive. They also keep us from sounding like an automatic translator. You will see what we mean shortly when we look at a few examples.

Without further ado, let’s discuss everything to do with pronouns.

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What are English pronouns?

Pronouns are words that can be used in place of a noun or a noun phrase. They are used to avoid naming a person or thing when what is being talked about is clearly understood. They are useful words, as they help us make spoken and written language simpler and more natural. Here is an example using the pronoun “she”:

  • Sentences without using pronouns: Adriana’s favorite food is pizza, but Adriana also loves tacos. Adriana isn’t scared of trying new things.
  • Sentences using pronouns: Adriana’s favorite food is pizza, but she also loves tacos. She isn’t scared of trying new things.

In the previous example, the pronoun “she” replaces Adriana’s name. We know we’re still talking about Adriana, so it’s not necessary to repeat her name after the first time. See how it flows better?

English pronouns chart

There are over 100 pronouns in the English language. What are some of the most common English pronouns? To break it down, we can classify them in five main categories related to the gender or number of people that we are talking about. Here’s an easy-to-read pronoun table:

 Personal  / subject pronounObject pronounPossessive adjective (determiner)Possessive pronounReflexive / intensive pronoun
1st person singularImemyminemyself
2nd person singularyouyouyouryoursyourself
3rd person singular, malehehimhishishimself
3rd person singular, femalesheherherhersherself
3rd person singular, neutralititits itself
1st person pluralweusouroursourselves
2nd person pluralyouyouyouryoursyourselves
3rd person pluraltheythemtheirtheirsthemselves

Keep in mind that there are other types of pronouns in English. For example, indefinite pronouns and interrogative pronouns. The ones above are a good starting point. 

What are the gender neutral English pronouns?

Unlike other languages, like French, English does have gender-neutral pronouns. The 3rd person plural (they, them, their, etc.) can be used to refer to an individual whose gender we don’t know or who prefers to be identified with non-binary language. There is plenty to learn about non-binary pronouns in English, so here are a couple of examples:

  • Em identifies as non-binary. You’ll like them a lot, they’re into the same music you are.
  • Someone knocked on the door. I was busy and didn’t manage to open the door for them.

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Examples using pronouns in English

Now that we know the technicalities of pronouns, let’s practice a bit with examples.

  • Personal/subject pronoun (used to replace the subject):
    She’s (she is) really into sports, but he’s (he is) not.
  • Object pronoun (used as the object of a sentence):
    Would you mind giving me a ride? You’re giving him a ride already, right?
  • Possessive adjective (refers to ownership and affects a noun):
    I see your car, but not theirs.
  • Possessive pronoun (refers to ownership and replaces a noun):
    I see your car, but not theirs.
  • Reflexive/intensive pronoun (indicates that the subject and the object are the same):
    Did she buy that house herself? I myself can’t afford a house right now.

Possessive adjective (determiner)

As you can see in the examples above, possessive adjectives (determiners) are not technically pronouns. They don’t replace nouns, but rather affect them. They sit right before a noun to show who owns it (your car, her purse, his bike). 

In this sense, they function as adjectives. However, they’re easier to learn when you group them together with pronouns. That’s why they’re often included in pronoun tables like the one above.

Simplify it

Pronouns help us speak in simple phrases. See how handy it is to use pronouns in the English language? They can really help us make our sentences flow and sound more natural. They also help our audience because pronouns make things easier to understand. In short, they make life simple in English! Take some time to learn the English pronouns chart above and practice by writing your own examples. You’ll be a pro in no time.

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Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her consulting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.

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