English grammar

Module 2, Pronouns, Lesson 2:

Cases of Personal Pronouns

English grammar

The cases of pronouns tell you how they are being used in a sentence.

Subject Object Possessive
I we me us my, mine our, ours
you you you you your, yours your, yours
he, she, it they him, her, it them his, her, hers, its their, theirs

Definition: A subject pronoun (also called a nominative pronoun) is used as the subject of a sentence or as a subject complement following a linking verb. (The subject of a sentence is the person doing the action in a sentence. A subject complement is a word that renames or gives more information about the subject. A linking verb, such as is or seems, connects the subject to the subject complement.)

Subject Pronoun as the Subject of a Sentence

A subject pronoun that acts as the subject of a sentence will make sense in the following test sentence: bit the monster. The subject pronoun will tell us who is doing the biting.

I bit the monster.
You bit the monster.
He bit the monster.
She bit the monster.
It bit the monster.
We bit the monster.
They bit the monster.

Hint: Subject Pronoun as a Subject Complement (Renaming the Subject)

Subject pronouns that are used as subject complements to tell us more information about the subject will fit in this test sentence: The superhero was . In this test sentence, superhero is the subject, and the subject pronoun tells us who the superhero is.

The superhero was I.
The superhero was you.
The superhero was he.
The superhero was she.
The superhero was it.
The superheroes were we.
The superheroes were they.

(Note that when a subject pronoun is followed by a linking verb, you can say the sentence backwards and it will still make sense: The superhero was II was the superhero.)

Note: In informal speech, it is now acceptable to say things like "It's me" instead of "It is I," even though it is not technically grammatically correct.

Definition: An object pronoun (also called an objective pronoun) is used as a direct object, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition. Below are some examples of these concepts. To learn more, follow the links.

Direct object: Brandon sent it. (What did Brandon send? He sent it.)
Indirect object: Brandon sent her the package. (Who was the package for? Her.)
Object of a preposition: Brandon sent the package to her. (Her is the object of the preposition to.)

Object pronouns will fit in this test sentence: The monster bit . The object pronoun in this sentence tells us who was bitten by the monster.
The monster bit me.
The monster bit you.
The monster bit him.
The monster bit her.
The monster bit it.
The monster bit us.
The monster bit them.

Notice how it doesn't make sense to use object pronouns in place of subject pronouns, or subject pronouns in place of object pronouns. (The exceptions to this rule are the pronouns it and you, which can be used in either case).

Me bit the monster. The monster bit I.
Them bit the monster. The monster bit they.

Definition: possessive pronouns show ownership.

There are two sets of possessive pronouns. My, your, his, her, its, our, your, and their are usually classified as possessive pronouns, but they are more accurately described as possessive adjectives because they always modify nouns.

My pencil fell on the floor, and his pencil ended up on her desk.

The second set of possessive pronouns consists of the words mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs. These pronouns are different from the others because they don't modify nouns. They completely replace the nouns they refer to.

Hey! That's mine, not yours!

Note that there are no apostrophes in the possessive pronouns. They are born showing ownership, so it's not necessary to add 's to show ownership. Remember that it's is the contraction for it is while its is the possessive pronoun.

It's a good idea to give your dog its dinner on time!
It'sIt is a good idea ... (contraction)
its dinner ⇒ the dog's dinner (possessive)

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
Choose the pronoun that correctly completes each sentence.
went to the dance last Friday.
She, Her, Hers
When James found his book, was very happy.
he, him, his
The waitress brought the dessert to .
we, us
The new radio host is .
she, her, hers
Sally and her friend brought empty bags to the recycling center.
they, them, their
If your friend has a comment, should fill out a form.
she, her, hers
The driver of the truck lost keys.
he, him, his
The receptionist in the office gave an appointment slip to .
I, me, my
The skier went down the mountain as fast as was able.
he, him, his
Harry gave a bouquet of flowers.
she, her, hers