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# 6. Person in Pronouns

First Person

Writers use first person when they are the "person" speaking in the document. First person shows that what is said is the opinion of the writer or the writer as part of a group. The pronouns below show first person.

 

Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

I, me

my, mine

Plural

we, us

our, ours

Second Person

Writers use second person when the document is addressed directly to one person or one group of people. Second person makes the communication personal. The list below shows the second person pronouns.

 

Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

you

your, yours

Plural

you

your, yours

Third Person

Writers use third person when they want the communication to be impersonal or directed to a non-specific audience. They also use it to show they are talking about an object (or non-human form of life) or someone other than themselves or the person or persons they are directly addressing. The pronouns used to show third person are below. Note that in third person the singular pronouns show gender.

 

Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

he, she,
him, her, it

his, hers, its

Plural

they

them, theirs

 

Nouns can also show third person. When the writer uses a person's or place's name or another noun which names the person, thing, or group, he is using third person.

 

PRONOUNS

 

First Person Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

I

my, mine

Plural

we, us

our, ours

 

Second Person Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

you

your, yours

Plural

you

your, yours

 

Third Person Subjective

Objective

Possessive

Singular

he, she,
him, her, its
who, whom

his, hers, its
whose

Plural

they, them

theirs

 

  1. Use subjective pronouns as follows:
    1. As the subject of a verb.
      We (pronoun) ran the marathon last week.

    2. In appositives which define the subject.
      We boys, Jerry, John, and I (pronoun), went to the store.

    3. After the verb forms of to be (linking verbs).
      It was she (pronoun).I wish I were he (pronoun).

  2. Use objective pronouns as follows:
    1. As the direct object of verbs (answers the question who or what about the verb?).
      The bull chased them (pronoun) across the field.

    2. As the indirect object of verbs (answers the question to whom or to what the action of the verb is directed).
      Bill threw the ball to him (pronoun).

    3. As the object of a preposition.
      I went to the store with Joan and her (pronoun).

  3. Use pronouns after the verb when
    1. The words than and as, use a subjective pronoun whenever the pronoun is the subject of an understood verb.
      He fears the dog more than I (pronoun) (do).

    2. If the pronoun is the object of an understood verb, use the objective pronoun.
      He fears the dog more than (he fears) me (pronoun).

     

  4. Use possessive pronouns to show ownership.|

  5. Use possessive pronouns with gerunds (verbs ending with -ing) when they are the subject of a sentence.

     

    His being (pronoun with gerund) elected class president meant a lot to him.


 

Last Reviewed: December 19, 2013

 
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