Selecting Subject & Object Pronouns: Rules & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Are Personal Pronouns?
  • 1:10 Subject Pronouns
  • 2:12 Object Pronouns
  • 3:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Discover the difference and usefulness of two different types of pronouns. Learn how to use subject pronouns and object pronouns effectively in writing.

What Are Personal Pronouns?

Our writing is full of nouns. Buildings, cars, computers, cell phones, ideas, and even people are all examples of nouns. We need them in order to have anything at all to write about. In order to keep from repeating the same nouns over and over again in writing, we use pronouns. Pronouns are words that replace specific names of nouns.

Let's look at an example in the following two sentences. ''Jamie threw the paper ball. He didn't mean for it to hit the teacher.'' In the first sentence, we have two nouns, 'Jamie' and 'ball.' In the second sentence, what words replaced 'Jamie' and 'ball?' You should see that 'he' and 'it' replaced those nouns. 'He' and 'it' are pronouns.

When a pronoun is replacing a specific person or object, it is called a personal pronoun. Here is the list of all the personal pronouns: I, me, you, he, him, she, her, it, we, us, they, and them. In order for you to use pronouns effectively, you need to understand the two categories for personal pronouns.

Subject Pronouns

The first type is the subject pronoun. This gets its name from the fact that the subject pronouns are pronouns that take the place of the subject of the sentence. Remember that a subject is the main noun doing the action in the sentence.

Not all pronouns can take the place of a subject. For example, can you say, ''Me drove to the store?'' No, of course you can't. This is because 'me' is not a subject pronoun. The correct pronoun in that sentence is 'I.' ''I drove to the store.'' 'I' is a subject pronoun and can take the place of the subject in a sentence.

Look again at the example from earlier: ''Jamie threw the paper ball. He didn't mean for it to hit the teacher.'' What is the subject of the sentence? 'Jamie' did the action and is the subject. In this second sentence, 'he' has replaced Jamie. 'He' is, therefore, a subject pronoun.

The subject pronouns are I, he, she, you, it, we, and they. These are the only ones that can stand in for the subject of a sentence.

Object Pronouns

The other type of pronoun is the object pronoun. An object pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun that is the object of a sentence. So, what is an object? An object in a sentence is any noun that receives the action. This means objects usually fall within the predicate of the sentence.

Remember, the predicate includes the verb and all the words that follow it. Simply put, the predicate is anything not attached to the subject. Thus, an object is any noun receiving the action or a noun that is not the subject. Once you find the subject of the sentence, all other nouns are objects.

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