Sscglpinnacle Dhaka

Rules for pronouns

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Rules for pronouns



What is a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that substitutes a noun, such as it (substituting for the name of a certain object) or a person, such as he (substituting for the name of a person).

Kinds of Pronouns

  1. Personal Pronouns:  e.g. I, you, He, she, it, they, who, me, him, her, them, whom
  2. Possessive Pronouns: e.g. yours, mine, his, hers, ours, theirs,
  3. Reflexive Pronouns: e.g. myself, himself, herself, itself, yourself, ourselves, themselves
  4. Reciprocal Pronoun: e.g. each other, one another
  5. Relative Pronouns: e.g. who, whom, whose, which, that
  6. Demonstrative Pronoun: e.g. this, these, that, those
  7. Distributive Pronouns: Each , either, neither ,every, none etc.
  8. Interrogative Pronouns: Who whom whose which etc.

First, Second and Third Person Forms of Personal Pronouns

Pronouns naturally are of three persons:—

(1) First person, representing the person speaking.

(2) Second person, representing a person or thing spoken to.

(3) Third person, standing for a person or thing spoken of.


Case Subjective Objective Possessive  
  Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
First person I We me us my our
          mine ours
Second person you you you you your yours
          your yours
Third person he they him them his/her their
  she   her   hers theirs
  it   it   its  

Rules for Pronouns

Rule 1

If the pronoun is used before the verb it will be in the nominative case. If the pronoun is used after the verb it will be in the objective case.

  • Nominative case pronouns - I, We, You, She, He, It, They.
  • Objective case pronouns – Me, us, you, him, her, it, them.


  • We went to the store today.
  • She studied at Pinnacle.
  • You ran five miles in the morning yesterday.
  • They are not very happy about what happened during the match.
  • The dean nominated Neelima and me (not Neelima and I) to serve on the committee. (used as objective pronoun as it is used after the verb)

Rule 2

In those sentences where pronouns of different persons are used there is a specific order to place them. When some pleasant news is to be announced, the speaker uses this order: II person, III person and I person, and when some unpleasant news is to be announced, use this order: I person, II person and III person.

Example :

  • You, she and I have been commended for the success of the project.
  • I, you and she have been held responsible for the failure of the project.

Rule 3 (Comparing pronouns)

While making comparisons in pronouns the pronouns compared should be of the same case. It means either both should be of the nominative pronouns or both should be objective pronouns.


  • She is as intelligent as him.
  • This is incorrect as She and Him are being compared. She is in nominative case and him is in the objective case. So replace him by he.

Rule 4

If a sentence begins with it as the subject followed by any form of be (was/were/is/am/are etc) then the pronoun should be in nominative form.


  • It was them who have funded your whole education.(Replace them by they as them is in the objective form.)
  • It was us who organized the whole party.( Replace us by we as us is in the objective form)

Rule 5

Rules for pronouns 

When to use reflexive pronouns

 When the subject and the object refer to the same person or thing.

  • He accidentally cut himself while he was chopping the vegetables.
  • Sheela bought a present for herself.
  • They injured themselves during the  match.
  • I enjoyed myself at the movie.
  • The dog is scratching itself .

We use them for emphasis.

  • The author signed the book for me herself!
  • I did it myself.

We use a reflexive pronoun after the following verbs – Amuse ,avail, blame ,cut ,dry, enjoy, help , hurt ,behave, introduce ,kill, adapt, absent and enjoy.


  • I wish the children would behave themselves.
  • He busied himself in the kitchen.
  • Would you like to help yourself to another drink?
  • I saw myself as a famous actor in my dream.

Do not use a reflexive pronoun after verbs which describe things people usually do for themselves, such as wash, shave, dress, hide , rest, stop, turn, move etc.

  • He washed himself in cold water. ( Incorrect) (Remove himself.)
  • He always shaved himself before going out in the evening. (Remove himself.)
  • He dressed himself and got ready for the party.( Remove himself.)
  • We only use reflexives with these verbs for emphasis:
  • He dressed himself in spite of his injuries.
  • The students are old enough to read the book themselves.

Rule 6 (Each other and one another)

Use “each other” when referring to two things.

Use “one another” when referring to three or more things.

Each other refers to two, one another to more than two.

"The two brothers quarreled; they struck each other" is correct.

"The three brothers quarreled; they struck one another" is also correct.


  • The newly married couple danced with each other at the party.
  • After the test at Pinnacle the students discussed the paper with one another.
  • The players of the team competed with one another for the ball.

Rule 7

To avoid the repetition of a singular noun in a sentence that of is used.

To avoid the repetition of a plural noun in a sentence those of is used.


  • The population of China is more than the population  (Replace the population by that of) India.
  • The students of Pinnacle are far better than the students (Replace the students by those of) of any other centre.

Rule 8

Relative pronouns are used to tell us more about a person or thing-Who, whom , that ,which , whose are used as relative pronouns.


  • My mother, who was a working woman in the sixties is an extremely hard working lady.
  • Ravi Sharma, who is 62, has just retired.
  • This is the artist whose paintings sell for millions in the international market.

Who and whom is used for persons.

Examples-He is the man whom the police arrested last night.

Mrs Gupta who works as a clerk in my office is on leave today.

Use which or that when we talk about things (but not people).

Example-This is the watch which my husband bought for me.

Use whose to show possession.

Example - Ravi, whose brother is a politician , manages to get all the government contacts.

That is used if the antecedent is a person and superlative degree is used.

Example -The most beautiful woman that I have ever met is my mother.

Mrs Gupta is the most efficient teacher that teaches maths to the senior section.

If all is used for persons the relative pronoun will be who if all is used for things the relative pronoun will be that. (Do not use whom and which)

Example - All who are appearing for the exam on Sunday should inform the principal right now.

All that appears before the eyes need not necessarily be true.

All that they did for the marriage pre[rations was wasted due to the rain.

Relative pronoun that is used with everything, nothing, the only, any, all, everyone, none, no, nobody, much, the same, little, the few etc.

Example- This is the only branded shirt that I have.

The little rain that took place was of great help to the farmers.


Mine, ours , yours ,his, hers and theirs are possessive pronouns which are never used directly before the noun.

A possessive adjective will be used before a noun directly. My, our, your, his, her, their, are possessive adjectives. His is used as a possessive pronoun as well as possessive adjective.

Example- Hers house is located in sector 13 in Hisar. (Replace hers by her)

Theirs father works in a bank. (Replace theirs by their)