As you watch the video, look at the examples of personal pronouns and possessives. They are red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, personal pronouns and possessives correctly.
Oliver: Hey, Alfie. How's things?
Alfie: Cool, great. You? What are you up to?
Oliver: Me? Nothing much. I'm just sitting here with a coffee and the laptop.
Alfie: Ah. Are you doing that project Doc. Taylor gave us? An analysis of motivation in ...
Oliver: No, I'm reading the newspaper on it. Politics ... the world economy ...
Alfie: Oh right, the football results.
Oliver: Exactly. “International relations”, but on a football pitch! Anyway, what can I do for you?
Alfie: Well, I've got a new bike! My uncle bought it for me – it's my birthday present.
Oliver: Wow! Did you tell him he's more than six months late?
Alfie: No, I'm not complaining – a present's a present, and it's a nice bike. He got me a helmet too, and I've got some cool cycling gloves as well – the man in the shop gave me them free. So, why don't you come round with yours and we can take them for a ride?
Oliver: The gloves?
Alfie: Ha ha. The bikes ... take the bikes for a ride. See if Daisy wants to bring hers too.
Oliver: Daisy's out with that new friend of hers, Amy. Hang on. Mum's calling. She's in Turkey. Let me talk to her and I'll call you back.
Alfie: OK. Say 'Hi' to her from me.
Oliver: Will do. Hi, Mum.
Sophie: Honey! Hi!
Oliver: How's Istanbul?
Sophie: I'm loving it.
Oliver: But you love everywhere you go ...
Sophie: True! But seriously, it's great fun – you'd love it ... all the different 'meze' at lunch, oh the colours, and they bring you lots and you choose which ones you want – look, here's a photo.
Oliver: Oh, wow!
Sophie: And I've been to the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofía – of course, with my name! Um, the Topkapi Palace... That's what you can see behind me. Oh, and I'm going on a night cruise on the Bosphorus tonight. It's really an amazing city, modern but traditional, full of culture and colour and …
Oliver: So take me there. Or take us. Daisy'd like it too, wouldn't she?
Sophie: She would, yes, I'm sure.
Oliver: And have you been to a Turkish Bath yet?
Sophie: Yes, a hammam. I went to one yesterday, I loved it! Now, the taxis here – they drive a bit differently from ours back in Britain. They’re a bit scary! Anyway, love, I've got to go. How's Daisy? Give her my love!
Oliver: OK, Mum. Bye. Hi, it's me again. So tell me about this bike of yours, is it anything like mine?
We use personal pronouns (I, me, he, him, etc.) to replace names or nouns when it is clear what they refer to. We use possessives (my, your, her) when it is not necessary to name the person the thing belongs to.
We use personal pronouns to avoid repeating nouns.
Mum's calling. She’s in Turkey.
How’s Daisy? Give her my love.
You used she because it’s the subject and her because it’s the object.
Very good. Here’s the list of all the personal pronouns and possessive adjectives:
|Subject pronoun||Object pronoun||Possessive adjective||Possessive pronoun|
We use pronouns to avoid repetition when it is obvious what we are talking about.
Is this your bike? > No, that one’s mine. (= my bike)
Those red gloves are yours; the blue ones are hers. (= her gloves)
Can I use two pronouns together?
Yes, for example:
The man in the shop gave me them free.
So, what do I need to be careful about?
Well, sometimes we use me when it might seem logical to use I. We also use it sometimes to refer to people.
I love house music > I do too / Me too.
Who’s that? > Me. / It’s me. / It’s Fran.
Sometimes we use they instead of he or she, them instead of him or her and their instead of his or hers.
When you meet your new teacher, they will give you the books.
If anyone asks where I am, tell them I’m in Istanbul this week.
Someone left their gloves in the classroom.
I thought someone was singular.
Yes, you’re right, but nowadays we avoid using he for people in general, and he or she is very long, so we use they instead, especially when we’re speaking.
Can you also say:
“The English cricket team lost again. They were rubbish.”?
Yes. We sometimes use they for single nouns which refer to groups of people.
What about animals?
We usually use it/they for animals, but when people are talking about their own pets, they use he or she.
The dog must be thirsty. Give him some water.
Yes, one thinks that animals are just like people, doesn’t one?
Ah, we don’t use one to mean everyone very much. It sounds very old-fashioned and too formal. We use you to mean people in general.
You can see the sea from the top of that mountain. (you = people in general)
But the Queen uses one?
That's true. But, I haven’t met the Queen and you should use you!
Worksheets and downloads
What's the best present you've ever had? What was it and who gave it to you?