A pronoun is a word or phrase that is substituted for a noun whose identity has already been established. We use pronouns so we don’t have to keep repeating nouns and avoid sounding repetitive. Erin woke up early. She is tired today.
sounds far less repetitive than Erin woke up early. Erin is tired today.
I. First and Second Person Pronouns: I, You, and We
used used when you are referring to yourself as the speaker or writer. You
is used when referring directly to a listener or reader.
I am the teacher. You are the student.|
‘I’ refers to the writer. ‘You’ refers to the reader.
is used to refer to a group that the speaker or writer belongs to. The listener or reader may or may not be included in the group.
We will start class in five minutes.|
‘We’ refers to the teacher (the speaker) and the students.
II. He, She, It, and They
Most, but not all, pronouns have an antecedent which the pronoun later replaces.
Brenda went to Los Angeles. She will be back on Monday.|
Brenda is the antecedent. ‘She’ is the pronoun.
The pronoun reflects the gender of the noun it is replacing. He
is used when referring to a man, she
is used when referring to a woman, it
is used when referring to a place or an object, and they
is used when referring to more than one person.
Jared went to work early |
so he could leave after lunch.
‘He’ refers to Jared.
Natalie called out sick.
She won’t be in the office today.
‘She’ refers to Natalie.
Sarah bought a new car.
It is a Toyota.
‘It’ refers to the car.
John and Maria are coming over to dinner.
They will be here in an hour.
‘They’ refers to John and Maria.
Animals are usually referred to as it
. However, if there is a personal relationship with the animal, such as a pet, and/or the gender is known, use he
Did you see that horse? It ran right in front of the car!|
‘It’ is used because there is no relationship
between the speaker and the horse.
My pet cat’s name is Hazel. She is almost seven years old.
‘She’ is used because there is a personal relationship
between the speaker and the cat.
III. The Dummy Subject
We use it
as an empty pronoun, or a dummy subject, if there is no other pronoun to use as a subject. This is often used when referring to the weather or time.
It was past midnight when I got home.|
It is so nice to go out to dinner.
I can’t believe it is raining again.