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What Are Third-Person Pronouns? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 Power of Pronouns
  • 0:23 Third-Person Pronouns
  • 1:56 Examples
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

Pronouns are a very common part of speech and are used almost any time you write. In this lesson, you'll learn what third-person pronouns are and how to use them correctly in your writing.

Power of Pronouns

A pronoun is a very helpful part of speech. It takes the place of a noun or nouns and can help your writing from sounding repetitive. Instead of using the name of the noun over and over, you can replace it with a pronoun like 'it,' 'she,' or 'he.' Remember that pronouns can propel the quality of your writing by getting rid of extra nouns!

Third-Person Pronouns

In writing, there are three different points of view: first, second, and third. In first person, the speaker is talking about or including themselves (I, me, we). Second person is less common: the speaker speaks directly to the reader or the audience (you).

But the most common point of view in writing is third person. In the third person, the writer or speaker is able to write or talk about other people or characters. Third person is the most common way of writing, whether you are telling a story or composing an essay.

Third-person pronouns can refer to people or to things. They are singular or plural, and they can be subjective or objective . When they are subjective_ they are acting as the subject of a sentence. When they are objective they are receiving the action or are an object of a preposition.

Subjective pronouns will usually be at the beginning of a sentence or a phrase; they are the doers of the action. For example:

  • He walked to the store to buy milk.
  • They are planning a vacation for this summer.
  • After the curtains closed, she stood up and cheered even more.

Objective pronouns receive the action or come at the end of a prepositional phrase. You are more likely to find them at the end of a sentence. For example:

  • Maureen gave him the birthday gift.
  • The waitress brought them the bill.
  • James searched all over the store trying to find the perfect present for her.

Be careful to pay attention to the gender (male or female) of the noun you are replacing. Third person singular pronouns should match the gender of the noun they replace. For example, John would become 'he' or 'him' but Mary would be 'she' or 'her.'

Examples

Use third-person pronouns to replace nouns and keep your writing from sounding repetitive. Once you have used the name of a noun, you can replace it with a third-person pronoun to help your writing flow.

Let's start with subjective pronouns:

Here is a sentence with no pronouns in the subject:

  • Mary was looking for the perfect pair of shoes, but Mary could not find shoes anywhere!

You can replace 'Mary' with the subjective pronoun 'she,' as in:

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