Text: Pronoun Person, Number, and Case

Personal pronouns may be classified by three categories: person, number, and case.


Icon of a personPerson refers to the relationship that an author has with the text that he or she writes, and with the reader of that text. English has three persons (first, second, and third).


First-person is the most informal.  The author is saying, this is about me and people I know.

  • First-person pronouns include I, me, we


Second-person is also informal, though slightly more formal than first-person.  The author is saying, this is about you, the reader.

  • All second-person pronouns are variations of  you, which is both singular and plural


Third-person is the most formal.  The author is saying, this is about other people.

In the third person singular there are distinct pronoun forms for male, female, and neutral gender. Here is a short list of the most common pronouns and their gender:

Person Pronouns
First I, me, we, us
Second you
Third Male he, him
Female she, her
Neutral it, they, them


Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence.

  1. This is Theo. (He / She / It) has a nickname—”Fast Draw.”
  2. Meet my parents. (He / It / They) don’t understand me.
  3. Luiza is an actress. Everybody knows (him / her / them).
  4. These flowers are for you and your family. I picked them for (them / you / yous).
  5. Look at these guys. Look at (him / it / them).


Icon of hand with forefinger extendedThere are two numbers: singular and plural. The table below separates pronouns according to number. You may notice that the second person is the same for both singular and plural: you.

Person Number Pronouns
First Singular I, me
Plural we, us
Second Singular you
Plural you
Third Singular he, him
she, her
Plural they, them


Suitcase iconEnglish personal pronouns have two cases: subject and object (there are also possessive pronouns, which we’ll discuss next). Subject-case pronouns are used when the pronoun is doing the action. (I like to eat chips, but she does not). Object-case pronouns are used when something is being done to the pronoun (John likes me but not her). This video will further clarify the difference between subject- and object-case:


Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence.

  1. I don’t know if I should talk to (he / him). (He / Him) looks really angry today.
  2. Enrico and Brenna are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. (They / Them) will be here at 6:00.
  3. Melissa loves music. (She / Her) listens to it when I drive (she / her) to work.

Possessive Pronouns

Icon of woman with arm wrapped around man's armPossessive pronouns are used to indicate possession (in a broad sense). Some occur as independent phrases: mine, yours, hers, ours, yours, theirs. For example, “Those clothes are mine.” Others must be accompanied by a noun: my, your, her, our, your, their, as in “I lost my wallet.” His and its can fall into either category, although its is nearly always found in the second.

Both types replace possessive noun phrases. As an example, “Their crusade to capture our attention” could replace “The advertisers’ crusade to capture our attention.”

This video provides another explanation of possessive pronouns:


Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence.

  1. Hey, that’s (my / mine)!
  2. Carla gave Peter (her / hers) phone number.
  3. Remember to leave (their / theirs) papers on the table.


The table below includes all of the personal pronouns in the English language. They are organized by person, number, and case.

Person Number Subject Object Possessive
First Singular I me my mine
Plural we us our ours
Second Singular you you your yours
Plural you you your yours
Third Singular he him his his
she her her hers
it it its its
Plural they them their theirs