A pronoun refers to or substitutes a noun in a given sentence. There are three kinds of pronouns:
Subject PronounsI, you, he, she, it, we, they, who, whoever
Object Pronounsme, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom, whomever
Possessive Pronounsmy, your, his, her, our, their, mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, whose
Use a Subject Pronoun when…
- The pronoun is the subject of the sentence.
- Heath Ledger is terrific as the Joker in the last Batman movie. He was my favorite actor.
- The pronoun is used after a “be” verb (am/is/are, was/were, be, being, been).
- Aunt Martha was annoyed that I did not defrost the turkey in time. Actually, it was she who forgot.
For help avoiding gender bias in your selection of subject pronouns, see Avoiding Bias.
Use an Object Pronoun when…
- The pronoun is the object of the sentence; in other words, it receives the action or is acted upon.
- Our parents gave Riley a cat for his birthday, but they expected us to clean its litter box.
- The pronoun is used after the prepositions between, except, and with.
- Heather divided the task of canvassing all three neighborhoods between us and them.
Use a Possessive Pronoun to show ownership
- The laptop in the break room is mine. Yours is in the conference room next to hers.