What Are Subjective Personal Pronouns (with Examples)
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What Are Subjective Personal Pronouns (with Examples)

The subjective personal pronouns are: I, you, she, he, it, we, you, and they. A subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the verb.

Subjective personal pronouns are personal pronouns in the subjective case. (As covered below, they are also used as subject complements.)

Examples of Subjective Personal Pronouns

Here are some examples of subjective personal pronouns in sentences:

  • We bought a pound of apples.
  • (We is the subject of the verb bought.)

  • He decided to row to the island.
  • (He is the subject of the verb decided.)

  • Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. (Carl Zwanzig)
  • (It is the subject of the verbs has. It is then the subject of the verbs holds. Note: Subjective personal pronouns do not have to be the subject of a sentence, but they do have to be the subject of a verb. Look at the two examples below.)

  • Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. (Ed Gardner)
  • (He is the subject of the verb sings.)

  • Things are only impossible until they 're not. (Hannah Louise Shearer)
  • (They is the subject of the verb are. Remember, they're is a contraction of they are.)

The Proper Terms for Subjective Personal Pronouns

The table below shows the terms we use to describe personal pronouns.

Proper TermSubjective Personal Pronoun
First Person Singular I
Second Person Singular you
Third Person Singular he/she/it
First Person Plural we
Second Person Plural you
Third Person Plural they

This next section will help to explain why we use those terms in the left-hand column for pronouns.

Whether we know it or not, we all select a personal pronoun having first determined its:

  • Number
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something singular or plural?

  • Person
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something:

    In the first person? (This is the speaker himself or a group that includes the speaker, i.e., I, me, we, and us.)

    In the second person? (This is the speaker's audience, i.e., you.)

    In the third person? (This is everybody else, i.e., he, she,it, they.)

  • Gender
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something male, female, or neuter?

  • Case
  • Is the personal pronoun representing something which is a subject or an object?

Subjective Personal Pronouns As Subject Complements

On occasion, a subjective personal pronoun will follow a linking verb to identify the subject. For example (subjective personal pronouns shaded):

  • It was I.
  • (In this example, It is the subject, was is the linking verb, and I is the subject complement.)

  • The burglar is he.
  • (In this example, The burglar is the subject, is is the linking verb, and he is the subject complement.)

Read more about subjective personal pronouns as subject complements.

Objective Personal Pronouns

Subjective personal pronouns contrast with objective personal pronouns, which are not used as subjects of verbs but as objects.

Proper TermObjective Personal Pronoun
First Person Singular me
Second Person Singular you
Third Person Singular him/her/it
First Person Plural us
Second Person Plural you
Third Person Plural them

Read more about objective personal pronouns.



See also:

What are personal pronouns?
What is the subjective case?
What are objective personal pronouns?
What is a subject complement?
What are linking verbs?
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
"BETWEEN YOU AND I" IS ALWAYS WRONG

The expression between you and I is always wrong. It should be between you and me.

It is wrong because I is a subjective personal pronoun, which means it must be the subject of a verb. In this expression, I is the object of the preposition between.

  • Between you and I, I think you're right.
  • Between you and me, I think you're right.
  • It is a small present from my wife and I.
  • It is a small present from me and my wife.
  • Me and my wife love this show.
  • My wife and I love this show.
  • (Here, I is part of the subject for the verb love.)
 
 
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