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What are pronouns?

English has seven pronouns. Usually, we put them into a table like this that helps us talk about them:

Third-Personhe, she, itthey
Table 1: Standard English pronoun paradigm.

First-person, second-person, and third-person are also used to refer to points of view that stories can be written from.

In English, singular third-person pronouns usually match a person or living thing’s gender. Nonbinary people who don’t feel that “he” or “she” is correct often use singular “they.”

Although we often think of “they” as a plural pronoun, people have used “they” as a singular pronoun for hundreds of years. The only “correct” form of language is the language people use.

In many languages, the same pronoun may have a different form depending on the job it’s doing in a sentence. These different forms are called the “case” of the pronoun.

English cases can be inconsistent, but other languages like German have more consistent case systems. Some languages like Chinese don’t have cases at all.

Usually, the subject performs the action. The object receives the action. The possessive owns something.

Example 1: They [subject] took me [object] to the store.

Example 2: I [subject] went to the store with them [object].

Example 3: We [subject] rode in their [possessive] car.

The next table shows all of the standard pronouns in English arranged by case.

Table 2: Standard English pronouns arranged by case.


Read the instructions carefully and answer each question. Hover over the hint button to see full expanded notation for a pronoun. You can take this quiz as many times as you want.

Fill in the blanks using he/him pronouns.

I asked my friend to show me (1) favorite book. (2) took an illustrated hardcover down from the shelf and handed it to me. I read the blurb on the back, then handed the book back to (3) .

Fill in the blanks using they/them pronouns.

I'm at the bookstore to get a birthday present for my coworker. I know (1) like art and gardening. None of these books look quite right for (2) . Wait, a coloring book with illustrations of plants! I'm sure (3) would like that.

Fill in the blanks using she/her pronouns.

I went to the ice cream shop with my sister. My favorite flavor is vanilla, but (1) is green tea. My sister paid for our treats. As we were leaving, some ice cream got on (2) shirt. (3) got some napkins to wipe (4) off.

Fill in the blanks using they/them pronouns.

I bumped into an old classmate at the grocery store today. We lost touch after they moved across the country all by (1) . It was so great to see them again!

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