Forms of Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

There are three Persons of Personal Pronouns—

(i) First Person

(ii) Second Person

(iii) Third Person


All these three Persons have different forms in different cases (Nominative, Objective and Possessive). Every student must know these different forms very clearly, because without this knowledge they cannot be used correctly. The different forms are these—


(i) Forms of First Person (Both Masculine and Feminine)


PossessiveMy ,MineOur ,Ours


(ii) Forms of Second Person (Both Masculine and Feminine)
NominativeYou ,thouYou ,ye
ObjectiveYou ,theeYou
PossessiveYour ,yours ,ThythineYour ,yours


(iii) Forms of Third Person (in different Genders)

CaseMasculineFeminineNeuterAll genders (Plurals)


(iv) Forms of Relative and Interrogative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns and Interrogative Pronouns have the same forms—

CaseMasculine and
GenitiveWhoseWhose of which


Note—Relative Pronoun ‘That’ has the same form in Singular and Plural Numbers and also in the Nominative and Accusative cases. It has no Genitive case.


(v) Forms of Reflexive and Emphatic Pronouns
PronounReflexive and Emphatic Form
YouYourself(in Singular) ,Yourselves (in Plural)


Rules of Pronoun


The following are the Rules of correct use of Pronouns—


Personal Pronoun


Rule 1—Number, Person and Gender The first and basic rule of the use of Pronoun is that it must have the same Number, Person, and Gender as the Number, Person and   Gender of the Noun for which it has been used. As—

  • He has done his work.
  • She has done her work.
  • You have done your work.
  • I have done my work.
  • We have done our work.
  • They have done their work.


Rule 2—Nominative Pronoun Nominative Pronouns are used as the Subject of a Verb. (He, She, I, You, We, They are in the Nominative Form). As—

  • He is a good boy.
  • She is going there. 
  • They are coming.
  • You can go.


Rule 3—Complement of the Verb ‘to be’ If a Verb ‘to be’ has a Pronoun for its complement, the Pronoun must be used in the Nominative form. As—

  • It is I (not me) who came yesterday.
  • It is he (not him) who will help you.
  • If I were she (not her), I wouldn’t do it.     
  • It is they (not them) who saved us.


Note—It should be remembered that in Exclamatory and Predicative use, Personal Pronoun can be used in the Objective form. As— it is me! It wasn’t him!


Rule 4—Objective Form If a Personal Pronoun is the Object of a Verb or a Preposition, it must be used in the Objective form. (Me, Us, Him, Them, Her, You are in the Objective Form). As—


  • I know him (not he) well.
  • She comes to me (not I) for help.
  • Our teacher has asked us (not we) to remain in the class.
  • I have told them (not they) to go away from here.
  • He depends upon me (not I)
  • I go to them (not they) for guidance.


Rule 5—Pronouns of Different Persons If Pronouns of different Persons are to be used with the same Verb, they must be used in the following order—

  1. In Singular Number, You (Second Person) should come first, He (Third Person) should come next, and I (First Person) should come last. This order is indicative of refined culture and good behaviour. In brief— You + He + I, i.e., 2 + 3 + 1


  1. In Plural Number— We + You + They, i.e., 1 + 2 + 3


  1. But if the sentence has a bad sense, or is expressive of some error or fault, the order should be thus— I/We + You + He/They, i.e., 1 + 2 + 3 As—                                            
  • You and he and I are good friends.
  • We and you and they can live together.   
  • You and he were class-mates.
  • Ram and I lived in the same house.
  • You and I can travel together.


  • We and you and they can work together.
  • We and they were in the same class.


  • I and you and he have to accept our fault.
  • You and he will be punished.


Rule 6—Pronoun for a Collective Noun with a Collective Noun the Pronoun used is Singular or Plural according to the sense. In the Singular Number we use It/its and in Plural They /Them. As—


  •  The jury are divided in their opinion.
  • The Government are ready to revise their proposals.


Rule 7—Pronoun for more than two Nouns When two or more Nouns are joined by and, the Pronoun used for them is always plural. As—

  • Ram and Mohan are friends.
  • They go to their school together.
  • Hari and his friends have completed their work.


Rule 8—Pronoun for Each or Every + Noun When two or more Nouns are joined by and, and before each Noun there comes each or every, the Pronoun used is always Singular. As—

  • Each worker and each mason has come on his work.
  • Each clerk and each typist has left his seat.


Rule 9—Each, Either, Neither They always take Singular Verb and Singular Possessive. As—

  • 1. Each of them is sure to get his chance. 
  • 2. Either of them is free to bring his book.
  • 3. Neither of the workers has brought his tools.


Rule 10—Either and Neither Either and Neither are used for two things only, not for more than two. As—

  • 1. You can choose either of these two (not more than two) pens.
  • 2. Neither of the two brothers was selected.

Rule 11—Anyone and None When more than two things are referred to, we use anyone in place of either and none in place of neither. As—

  • Anyone of these four boys can go with me.
  • None of these ten applicants is qualified.


Rule 12—Each other/One another They are called Reciprocal Pronouns. Each other is used for two things or persons, and one another for more than two. As—


  • The two brothers help each other.
  • All the five brothers help one another.
  • The two wheels rub against each other.                   

Note—In the modern usage there is believed to be little difference between Each other and One another. Now, sometimes “each other” is used for more than two, and One another for only two. As—

  • These three sisters really love each other.
  • let us all help each other.


Rule 13—Both and All Both is used for two, and All for more than two. As—

  • Both the pens are good. (i.e., only two pens)
  • Both the men (i.e., two men) are idle.
  • All the pens (i.e., more than two) are good.
  • All the men (more than two) are idle.



Rule 14—Pronoun for ‘or’, ‘either …… or’ / ‘neither …… nor’ + Noun When two or more than two Nouns are joined with or, either … or, neither … nor, the Pronoun used for them is always Singular.

  • Ram or Hari has lost his book.
  • Either the lawyer or his clerk will be in his office. 
  • Neither Mohan nor Sohan has done his work.


Rule 15—Pronoun for or/nor + Singular and Plural Nouns When a Singular Noun and a Plural Noun are joined by or / nor, the Pronoun used for them is always Plural. As—

  • Either the Principal or the teachers had neglected their duty.
  • Neither the father nor his sons had kept their promise.


Rule 16—Pronouns for different Persons When more than one Pronoun are of different Persons, and only one Pronoun is later to be used for them, there should be First Plural for First + Third, again First Plural for First + Second, and Second Person for Second + Third. As—


  • You and I have done our duty.   
  • You and Hari have done your duty.



Rule 17—Pronoun after than/as A peculiar difficulty arises in the correct use of Pronoun after than or as. The problem is to decide whether the Pronoun to be used after than or as should be in the Nominative form or Objective/Accusative form. In this connection it should be remembered that the Pronoun used after than or as is the short form of a whole clause.

Thus, the full form of ‘I am taller than he’ will be ‘I am taller than he is’. Therefore, in order to decide whether the Nominative or the Objective form of the Pronoun should come after than or as, we should mentally speak the whole clause beginning with than or as, and as soon as we do so, the correct form of the Pronoun will come in our mind. As—

  • I am stronger than he (is)
  • I am as strong as he (is).
  • He loves you more than I (love you).
  • I love you more than he (loves you).
  • He gave you more marks than (he gave) me.
  • I shall give you as many books as (I shall give) him.


Note—In sentences containing the Verbs of Incomplete Predication (suggesting the idea of being, becoming or seeming), Pronouns of Objective form can also be used in place of Nominative form after than or as. As—

  • He is taller than me.
  • This form is also acceptable as correct.

Pronoun ‘It/This


Rule 18—Pronoun ‘It’ Pronoun It is used in the following cases—

(a) For Inanimate things. As—

  • This is your house.
  • It is a big house.


(b) For small animals, birds and insects. As—

  • There is a parrot. It is green. 
  • I have a dog.


(c) For very little children—

  • The child has wetted its napkin.


(d) For such statements as have already been referred to earlier—

  • He is giving a false statement; as he knows it.
  • He deserved his demotion; as he knew it.


(e) For the imaginary subject of the verb ‘to be’, while it’s real subject comes later. As—

  • It is certain that he will come.
  • It is easy to find its solution.
  • It is doubtful whether he will succeed.


(f) For laying emphasis on some Noun or Pronoun which comes after it. As—

  • It was you who first made the offer.
  • It was I who first pointed out the mistake.
  • It was this place where we met first. Pronoun ‘It’/‘This’
  • It must be a foolish man who has been cheated twice by the same man.
  • It is this kind of behaviour that annoys everybody.


(g) For an imaginary or uncertain Nominative of an impersonal verb. As—

  • It rains.
  • It thunders.
  • It snows.
  • It blows.


(h) For referring to weather or time. As—

  • It is a fine weather.
  • It is 9 O’clock.
  • It is winter.
  • It is half past two.


Rule 19—Pronoun ‘This’ or ‘It’ A difficulty often arises with regard to the use of This or It in a sentence. It has been made amply clear above that it is only an imaginary Nominative, while This is a real Nominative, or gives some definite reference or information about the real Nominative.

This is used to give the name, introduction or any other information about someone. It is used only for weather, season, time or some impersonal subject. This refers to a person, thing, any specific information or quality, or nearness / closeness. As—

  • This is my brother.               
  • This is a cow.
  • This is All India Radio.
  • This is my point of view.
  • This is 351557. (Telephone Number)

Relative Pronouns


The more popular Relative Pronouns are— Who, Whom, Whose, Which, That, What. The following are the Rules of their correct use—

Rule 20

Who is used in the Nominative case only for Persons, both in the Singular and Plural Numbers. Who is not used for inanimate things. For animals also who is not generally used. Who is also used for People and Those. As—

  • I know the man who came here yesterday.
  • He is the thief who was caught red-handed.
  • All the people who came here were happy.
  • I know all those who were invited.


Rule 21—Whom Whom is used only for Persons in the Objective / Accusative case both in Singular and Plural Numbers. As—

  • The man whom I met yesterday has come.
  • The boy whom I gave the books has secured first division.


Rule 22—Which Which is used for animals and inanimate things. As—

  • The pen which I purchased yesterday has been lost.
  • The cow which stands there is very gentle.
  • The house which has a high gate is mine.


Note—In Prepositional Cases the Preposition is always used before which. As—


  • The post for which I applied is temporary.
  • I don’t remember the date on which he was born.
  • This is the book about which I told you.
  • This is the last chance on which I depend.
  • The book of which the cover is torn is not mine.


Rule 23—Whose Whose is used in Possessive Case both for Persons and Animals. As—


  • The boy whose father is the Principal is my friend.
  • The girl whose eyes are blue is very sweet.
  • Mohan whose brother came yesterday has gone home. 

Note—sometimes whose is used for inanimate things also. As—

  • The sun whose rays give us light also give us life.


Rule 24—That (A) That is used both for animate and inanimate things both in Singular and Plural Numbers. That has no Possessive / Genitive Case and therefore no Preposition can be used before it. If it is very necessary to use a Preposition, it can be placed at the end of the sentence. In such a case the sentence can be completed without ‘That’ also. As—     


  • I know the house that he lives in. or I know the house he lives in.
  • I catch the point that you are hinting at. Or I catch the point you are hinting at.
  • I have not yet read the book that you suggested to me.
  • I have lost the pen that you gave me.


(B) In the following cases the use of that is preferred to that of who or which. As—

(i) After the Superlative Degree—

  • Gandhi was the greatest man that modern India produced.
  • He is the best speaker that I have ever heard.


(ii) After these words—all, same, any, none, nothing, only, anything, anybody, nobody, little, somebody, no one—

  • This is all the statement that he gave.
  • He is the same boy that came yesterday.
  • It is only the fools that talk that way.
  • It is not for nothing that I have been labouring so hard.
  • There was not any that could be heard.
  • There was none that was not moved to tears.


(iii) After Interrogative Pronoun who/what—

  • What is it that troubles you so much?
  • What is there that I cannot do?
  • Who am I that you should care for?


(iv) After two Antecedents, one of which stands for a Person and the other for an animal or a thing. As—

  • The rider and his horse that tried to cross the river were drowned.
  • The driver and his bus that crossed the lane struck against a tree.


Rule 25—What Relative Pronoun What is used for things only. It is used without an Antecedent, and it means that which. As—

  • What cannot be cured must be endured.
  • What I told you is correct.
  • I know what you want to say.

It would be wrong to use an Antecedent before what. As—

  • The story what I read was good.

This sentence is wrong because Antecedent ‘story’ has been used before ‘what’. Its correct form would be—

  • The story that I read was good.


Rule 26—‘But’ as a Relative Pronoun Sometimes But is used as a Relative Pronoun, in which case it means who not/which not. As—

  • There is none but admires you. (But admires = who does not admire)
  • There is no problem but can be solved. (But can be solved = which cannot be solved)
  • There is none but loves his country. (But loves = who does not love)


Compound Relative Pronouns


Rule 27—Compound Relative Pronouns are— whoever, whoso, whosoever, whomsoever, whichever, whatever, whatsoever. All these Compound Pronouns are used without Antecedents, because the Antecedents are contained within them. They are supposed to be complete in themselves. As—

  • You can do whatever (i.e., anything which) you like.
  • You can take whichever (i.e., anything which) you like.
  • Whoever/whosoever/whoso (i. e., any person who) comes here is most welcome.
  • I shall employ whomsoever (i.e., any person whom) you recommend.


Agreement of the Relative Pronoun with its Antecedent


Rule 28—As we know, a Relative Pronoun agrees with its Antecedent in Number and Person. Therefore, it is supposed to have the same Number and Person as its Antecedent. The verb is also used according to the same Number and Person. As—

  • A boy who is good is loved by all.
  • Boys who are good are loved by all.
  • You who are my friend must help me.
  • Those who are loyal are also honest.
  • We who are colleagues must help each other.
  • Those who act like this can never be successful.
  • The flowers which grow in spring are very beautiful.
  • I who am your brother must warn you.


Omission of Relative Pronoun


Rule 29—The Relative Pronoun is omitted in the following cases—


(i) The Relative Pronoun ‘that’ can be omitted in the Objective Case. The sentence is correct in both cases, with or without ‘that’. As—

  • The picture that I saw yesterday was good. Or The picture I saw yesterday was good.
  • The man that you interviewed yesterday has come again. Or The man  you interviewed yesterday has come again.


(ii) The Relative Pronoun can be omitted in Prepositional Cases also. The sentence is correct in both forms. As—


  • That is the house that I lived in. or That is the house I lived in.
  • That is the man that I talked to. Or That is the man I talked to.


Note—In the above sentences shows the place from where a Relative Pronoun has been omitted. Some other Pronouns and their uses

Some other pronoun and their use:

Rule 30—Such/As, As is always used after such, the same or as. As—


  • His behaviour was such as was well expected.
  • His problem was such as could not be easily solved.
  • My difficulty is the same as yours.
  • This is as good as that.


Rule 31—Who and Which as connectives Sometimes who and which can be used as connectives only. As—


  • I met my friend, who gave me this advice. (i.e., I met my friend and he gave me this advice.)
  • I have bought a dictionary, which helps me a lot. (i.e., I have bought a dictionary and it helps me a lot).


Rule 32—Which in restricted sense In the Restricted sense / choice which can be used both for Persons and Things.

  • Which of them is your father. (Here choice is limited within ‘them’)
  • Which between these books is better, this one or that. (Here again choice is limited within ‘this one or that.’)


Rule 33—The same …….. that/as If in a certain sentence the same comes before a Noun, the same Noun is suggested by as or that in the following clause. But if in the following clause, the verb is understood (i.e. not expressed), only as will be used, not that. As—

  • This is the same book as/that I bought last year.
  • He is the same man as/that came this morning.     
  • This is the same watch as yours.


Rule 34—Who in the Objective Form Strictly from grammatical point of view who is used in the Nominative form, and whom in the objective form. But nowadays, especially in conversational language, who is being used in the objective form in place of whom. Or, otherwise, who or whom are both omitted from their objective place. As—


  1. Who did you talk to?       
  2. Who did you help?
  3. My brother, who you wanted to talk to, is here. Or My brother λ you wanted to talk to is here.
  4. Here is my friend who you wanted to meet. Or Here is my friend λ you wanted to meet.


In all these sentences who has been used in place of whom. In such sentences who or whom are both correct.

Rule 35—Independent Possessives Mine, ours, yours, theirs, his are called Independent Possessives. No Noun is used after them. The sense of Noun comes from the context.

  • This book is mine/yours.
  • These cows are ours/theirs.
  • This house is his.


Rule 36—One, One’s, Oneself One is an Indefinite Pronoun. It is used in its own form in all the three cases. In Nominative and Objective cases it is used as one, in Possessive case it is one’s, and in Reflexive form it is oneself. It is wrong to use Personal Pronoun with it. As—

  • One should mind one’s (not his) own business.   
  • One should avail oneself (not himself) of every opportunity.
  • One cannot succeed unless one (not he) works hard.


Rule 37—Reflexive Pronoun Reflexive Pronouns are formed by the addition of –self or –selves.

They are— Note Himself, herself, yourself, yourselves, themselves, myself, ourselves, itself.


(i) They cannot be used independently. The related Noun or Pronoun must be used with them. As—

  • I can do it myself. Or I myself can do it. It is wrong to use it thus—Myself can do it.
  • He himself came to the office
  • You can see it yourself.                     
  • We discovered the facts ourselves.
  • They themselves were there on the scene.
  • No machine can move by itself.

(ii) There are some Transitive verbs which take some Reflexive Pronoun for their object if there is no other object to complete them. These verbs are—avail, absent, revenge, enjoy. As—

  • I availed myself of this opportunity.
  • I revenged myself upon him.               
  • He absented himself from the class.
  • You must have enjoyed yourself during the vacation.



Interrogative Pronoun


Rule 38—Interrogative Pronouns are these—Who, whom, whose, which, what . The following are the Rules of their use— (i) What is used for inanimate things. As—

  • What is that?
  • What was there? 
  • What happened?
  • What had appeared there?

(ii) What is used for Persons also when the question is about their Position or Profession.As—

  • What is your father? i.e., What is the post or profession of your father?
  • What is he?
  • What are you?


(iii) Who, whose, whom are used for Persons. Who is used in the Nominative case, whom in the Objective case, and whose in Possessive case. As—

  • Who are you? 
  • Who comes there?
  • Whose book is this?
  • Whom do you want to meet? 

Since whom is a little inconvenient to use, who has come to be used in place of whom in the objective case. As—


  • Who have you invited?
  • Who do you want to meet?
  • Who are you speaking to?
  • Who did you find there?


(iv) Which is used for Persons and things in restricted choice. As—

  • Which is your father?   
  • Which pen is yours?
  • Which book do you like most?


(v) Sometimes it becomes essential to use some Preposition with which or what. In such a situation the Preposition is placed at the end of the sentence, not at the beginning. As—

  • What is this table made of?
  • Which house do you live in?     
  • What place are you going to?
  • Which book are you looking for?



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