Pronouns in English


Pronouns replace people, things, or names so we do not have to keep repeating ourselves.

If we had no pronouns, we would have to say:

Jenny went to school. Jenny was looking forward to Jenny's PE class, but Jenny's German class was less enjoyable because Jenny's German teacher was nasty, and although the girl that sat next to Jenny had a great new box of color pencils, the girl kept using Jenny's.

With pronouns, it sounds much nicer and is much easier to understand:

Jenny went to school. She was looking forward to her PE class, but her German class was less enjoyable because her German teacher was nasty, and although the girl that sat next to her had a great new box of color pencils, she kept using hers.

To find out what pronouns to use, we can ask questions. See below...

Personal PronounsPossessive PronounsReflexive Pronouns
Who or WhatWhom or WhatWhose with nounWhose no nounWhom+self

1 Who or What?

Who has a Rottweiler? - I have a Rottweiler.
What is lying in the basket? - It is lying in the basket.
Who is going to the picknick? - We are going.

2 Whom or What?

"Whom" is not used much in modern English, but traditionally it was used for the part of the sentence that had something done to it or directed at it.

If I say: "He gave the letter to Roger," the correct question would be "(To) whom did he give the letter?" Or if I say: "I love Mat," the correct question would be: "Whom do you love?"

Who(m) are you giving a cookie? - You are giving me a cookie.
Who(m) are you kidding? - You are kidding me.

3 Whom? - Number 2

When I ask you: "Who(m) did you see in the mirror?" your answer will start with "I saw..." so you already used the pronoun "I". If the pronoun is the person doing something AND the person that has something done to it, we have to add "....self" or "...selves" to the next pronoun in the sentence. This addition is also sometimes used with orders or expressions ("Help yourself!" "Pull yourself together!").


Who(m) did you see in the mirror? - I saw myself in the mirror.

Who(m) did you ask whether it would be worth it? - You asked yourselves whether it would be worth it.

4 Whose?

When we ask: "Whose glove is this?" we want to know who this glove belongs to. The answer would be: "It's my glove." or "It's mine." The preposition "mine" already includes the glove, whereas if we mention the glove in the answer, we have to use "my".


Whose apple is this? - This is my apple. / This is mine.
Whose muffin is this? - That's my muffin!/ Mine!