Posted by: episystechpubs | March 3, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Personal Pronouns

As promised, here are the tables of personal pronouns from The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage.

First-Person Pronouns (represent the speaker or writer of the sentence)

Grammatical Function Singular Plural
subject I we
object me us
possessive mine ours

Note: People often mix up whether they should use I or me. As you can see, they are both first person singular pronouns. The thing to remember is whether you are talking about yourself as the subject of the sentence, or the object. For example:

I made a party hat. (I am the subject—the doer—of the action in this sentence.)

That letter is from Ray and me. (The letter is the subject of this sentence; Ray and me are the objects.)

Ray and I attended the BBQ in our Sunday best. (In this case Ray and I are the subjects; the BBQ is the object.)

Second-Person Pronouns (represent the hearer or reader of the sentence)

Grammatical Function Singular Plural
subject you you
object you you
possessive yours yours

Note: Some areas of the country claim a second-person plural like y’all, you’ns, etc. These are handy but they are not grammatically correct.

Third-Person Pronouns (replace names of specific people, places, or things)

Grammatical Function Singular Plural
subject he, she, it they
object him, her, it them
possessive his, hers, its theirs


· Its is the singular possessive indicating that something belongs to “it.” For example, the bird built its nest out of lint and twigs. It’s is a contraction of the words “it is.”

· English doesn’t have a gender-neutral third-person pronoun. To get around it, try using a noun, such as “the user,” “the teller,” or “the member,” since using “they” or “them” is incorrect when they stand for a singular noun.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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