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Lesson 1.7 Pronouns

downloadable worksheet


The pronoun system in English is actually a bit like a time capsule; we have a glimpse of what the case-marking system of older forms of English was like when we analyze the way we use pronouns.


Case expresses the grammatical function of a noun, for example as the subject, the direct object, or as a possessive. English used to mark case on nouns, but now it only does so on pronouns (and possessives - we'll come back to that). Consider these examples.


The girl saw the boy.

The boy saw the girl.


The nouns girl and boy look exactly the same whether they are at the beginning of the sentence, as the subject, or at the end, as the direct object. But when pronouns are used instead of full nouns, here’s what you get:


She saw him.

He saw her.


She is the subject pronoun, and her is the object pronoun. (In grammar, the subject pronoun is said to be in nominative case, the object is said to be in accusative case. These terms may come up again when you study another language.) Native speakers don’t have to learn this; they just know it.


Here is a chart with all of the pronouns of English.


Pronouns have the function of replacing nouns; more specifically, they replace whole noun phrases. They can be really useful tools to help us identify subject noun phrases, as shown in Lesson 1.7a.


The terms 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person are used to describe pronouns. Discuss these terms and what they mean.


Notice that the pronouns overlap: 2nd person singular and 2nd person plural are the same form, you. Does this ever lead to confusion? How do you distinguish between these when speaking to your friends? Are there other words you use to clarify when you mean more than one person for you?



key words: pronouns, case, subject, direct object


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1a Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1a Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why). 


Here is this lesson as a pdf.


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