Just when you think English couldn’t get any more confusing, we introduce you to English pronouns! The reason why people quiver when they see pronouns is because there are so many types.

Luckily, we’re here to show you that they’re not so difficult to learn at all. Read on to discover six different English pronouns and when to use them.

What are pronouns?


In English, a pronoun is a word that can replace a noun or noun phrase in a sentence. We use them to refer either to a noun that has already been said or to a noun that does not need to be named specifically.

There are several types of pronouns that we need to use depending on the context of the sentence.

Let’s dive in and look at six of them in more detail now.

1. Personal pronouns

You may be familiar with the most common types of pronouns: personal pronouns. There are three types of these:

  • First person: the person speaking
  • Second person: the person being spoken to
  • Third person: other people or things

Similar to nouns, personal pronouns can act as the subject of a verb: For example, ‘I like Gary

Or they can be the object of a verb or preposition. For example ‘Gary likes me’.

See the table below for the different forms:

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Subject pronouns

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Object pronouns

While they are called ‘personal pronouns’, they aren’t limited to people and can also refer to animals and objects. For these things, we typically use the pronoun ‘it’.

To learn more about personal pronouns, watch this video.


2. Possessive pronouns

If you are pondering, the question ‘what is a possessive pronoun?’ It’s how we refer to things that belong to someone.

While we use a possessive pronoun to replace noun in a sentence, we use a possessive adjective to describe a noun.

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronoun:

  • Kate is a good friend of mine.
  • It’s his phone.
  • What’s mine is yours.

Possessive adjective:

  • My house is bigger than your house.
  • Her phone is new.
  • Our car is red.

Quick tip

Note that language learners (and native speakers) sometimes make a mistake when using possessive pronouns – they add an apostrophe, which is not necessary.

This happens most often when writing ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’.

In the first example, the apostrophe is used to express the contraction of ‘it is’, while the second is the possessive pronoun of it.

3. Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are words ending in -self or -selves. We use them when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same. For example, ‘I believe in myself’.

There are nine English reflexive pronouns in total. They are:

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Reflexive pronouns

It’s important to bear in mind that they can be used as both direct objects or indirect objects.

Direct object

A direct object is what received the action of the verb.

We can use a reflexive pronoun as a direct object when the subject and the direct object are the same.

Beth decided to treat herself to a new outfit.

“Herself” is the object that receives the action of the verb.

Here, ‘Beth’ is both the subject and object of ‘treat’ in the second sentence so a reflexive pronoun is used.

Indirect object

An indirect object is the word or phrase that is given the direct object.

We can also use reflexive pronouns as indirect objects. This is when the indirect object is the same as the subject.

Dan poured himself a glass of water.

The glass of water is the object, “himself” is the indirect object that receives the object.

It would sound odd to say ‘Dan poured Dan a glass of water’. It’s best in this case to use the reflexive pronoun.

To learn more about them, watch this video.


4. Indefinite pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to a person, thing or place without being specific. Here are some of the most commonly used indefinite pronouns:

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Indefinite pronouns

Like other pronouns, these are used as a replacement for a noun or noun phrase in a sentence.

  • Is this anybody’s coat?
  • They were staying in somebody’s house while they were on holiday.
  • Nothing happened.

We can use ‘else’ after indefinite pronouns to refer to other people and things. For instance:

  • I think this is somebody else’s jacket.

5. Demonstrative pronouns

Pronouns that are used to refer to a specific thing or things are called demonstrative pronouns. We use different demonstrative pronouns depending on how near or far in distance or time the thing is. See the table below:

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Demonstrative pronouns

Check out these examples to see how they work in a sentence:

  • This meal tastes delicious.
  • That house over there is huge!
  • Can you pass me those gloves please?
  • I need to finish reading these books before starting those.

Note: These words become demonstrative adjectives when they modify nouns or pronouns. For instance:

  • This mobile phone.
  • Those children.
  • That suitcase.

6. Interrogative pronouns

What is an interrogative pronoun? We’ll explain. These pronouns are used to ask a question – easy peasy!

The most common interrogative pronouns are: what, who, whom, whose and which. Yet, we can also use longer form ones ending in -ever: whoever, whomever, whosoever, whatever and whichever.

All of these pronouns can be used as singular or plural words depending on what they’re being used to refer to.

So how do we know which interrogative pronoun to use? Check out the table below for explanations.

How to use 6 different English pronouns_Interrogative pronouns

To learn more about interrogative pronouns, watch the following video.


More grammar lessons

Congratulations! Now you’re a pro at English pronouns! We’ve got heaps of grammar lessons for you to read. Try these:

4 present tenses and how to use them

4 past tenses and when to use them

4 future tenses and how to use them

4 conditionals and when to use them

How to use articles (a, an, the) in English

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

quiver (v): to tremble or shake because of a negative emotion.

dive in (pv): to become enthusiastically involved with something.

ponder (v): to think about something carefully.

bear something in mind (exp): remember a fact or circumstance and take it into account.

odd (adj): different from what is usual or expected; strange.

easy peasy (exp): very easy.

heaps (n): a lot of something.


exp = expression

v = verb

pv = phrasal verb

adj = adjective

n = noun

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