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What Are Subject Pronouns? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Shortcuts
  • 1:03 Subjects
  • 1:50 Subject Pronouns
  • 3:34 Choosing a Subject Pronoun
  • 4:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

In English, pronouns are used to take the place of nouns. There are different pronouns used depending on the position the noun had in the sentence. This is a lesson about subject pronouns.

Shortcuts

Do you ever look for shortcuts? You can find shortcuts for driving or walking, for using tools, and for doing projects. There are also shortcuts in language. One language shortcut is the part of speech called a pronoun. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Remember, a noun names a person, place, thing, or idea. How is a pronoun a shortcut? Take a look at these sentences.

  • Jess was hungry. Jess asked Jess's dad for a snack.

It sounds wordy, doesn't it? Now look at the same sentences, with pronouns added in italics.

  • Jess was hungry. She asked her dad for a snack.

The pronoun makes a difference. The second sentence is easier to write and to read.

There are several kinds of pronouns. In this lesson, we'll specifically look at subject pronouns. First, we should review subjects.

Subjects

In a sentence, the subject is the word that tells who or what the sentence is about. To remember this, you might think about other uses of the word subject. The subject of a biography is the person being written about. The subject of a TV special might be a particular person or topic. In a sentence, the subject either performs the action of the sentence or is linked to a word that renames or describes it. Look at these subjects.

  • 'Marilyn read a biography.'
    • The subject is 'Marilyn.'
  • 'The fish is orange.'
    • The subject is 'fish.'

In a sentence, the subject is a noun, pronoun, or group of words acting as a noun. Note the word 'pronoun' in that statement. It's time to talk about subject pronouns.

Subject Pronouns

The role of the subject pronoun is to replace the noun that is the subject of the sentence or clause. There are seven main subject pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, we, they. Look at the chart.


subject pronouns


When you're choosing a pronoun, there are two questions to consider. The first question is: What is the perspective? A pronoun can be either first person, second person, or third person.

When you use first person pronouns, you're talking about yourself. The first person subject pronouns are 'I' and 'we.' When you use second person pronouns, you're talking directly to your audience. The second person subject pronoun is 'you.' When you use third person pronouns, you're talking about someone or something that is not yourself or your audience. The third person subject pronouns are 'he,' 'she,' 'it' and 'they.'

The second question is: Is the pronoun singular or plural? Singular pronouns refer to only one person, place, thing, or idea.

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