Subject vs. Object Pronouns – Usage, Difference & Examples

Correct sentence structure is one of the first things beginning writers learn, and remembering the proper use of a subject and object pronoun can be difficult.

Pronouns are easy to overuse, misplace, or confuse in a sentence when used incorrectly in the English Language. But lucky, a quick review of their purpose can help you get them right every time. Let’s take a closer look at what a pronoun is and how to determine if they represent the subject or the object in a sentence.

What Is a Subject of a Sentence?

In English grammar, the sentence subject is the noun that performs the action of the sentence. The subject represents what the sentence is about. It precedes the predicate or expression of action within the sentence.

For example:

  • The man is walking to the park. (Subject: man)

What Is an Object of a Sentence?

The direct object of a sentence can be a noun or pronoun and receives the action of the sentence. An indirect object is usually a noun or pronoun as well and indicates to whom or for whom the action of the sentence is being done.

For example:

  • The man is walking to the park. (Direct object: park)
  • The man walks his dog to the park. (Indirect object: dog)

What Is a Pronoun?

A pronoun is a word used in place of a known noun or noun phrase. They are used to minimize repetition and help you provide flow and readability to your material. There are two main types of pronouns: subject and object pronouns.

What Are Subject and Object Pronouns?

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Pronouns act as a substitution for the subject and object nouns of a sentence.

Subject pronouns replace the subject of a sentence. In the following example, the man from our previous sentence above is replaced with a pronoun.

  • He is walking to the park. (Subject pronoun: he)

Object pronouns replace the object of a sentence. In the following example, the park from our previous sentence is replaced with a pronoun.

  • The man is walking to it. (Direct object pronoun: it)

In this example, the dog from our previous sentence above is replaced with a pronoun.

  • The man is walking it to the park. (Indirect object pronoun: it)

Pronouns are used when the reader is aware of what they are replacing. Suppose the subject and objects have not already been named or defined. In that case, a pronoun substitution could create confusion.

Singular vs. Plural Pronouns

Subject & object pronouns can be singular or plural. Their respective pronouns are also singular or plural.

For example, the sentences above are singular, but the following are plural:

  • Amy and I (subject) are picking the books (objects) up from the library.

Becomes

  • We (subject) are picking them (objects) up from the library.

Singular Subject Pronouns

I, he, and she are singular subject pronouns. Depending on their use, it and you can also function as singular subject pronouns.

For example:

  • I didn’t fall asleep until after midnight.
  • He was late to class two days in a row.
  • She forgot to set the alarm
  • It was hilarious.
  • You are brilliant.

Plural Subject Pronouns

We and they are plural subject pronouns. You can also function as a plural subject pronoun in the correct context.

For example:

  • We are leaving after school on Tuesday.
  • They are heading to the library to study.
  • I really like your classmates. You all have a great sense of humor.

Singular Object Pronouns

Him, her, and me are singular object pronouns. It and you occasionally function as singular object pronouns, depending on context.

For example:

  • Mary shared her dessert with him.
  • I gave her the grade she deserved.
  • The decision wasn’t up to me.
  • Max will bring the car to you after work.

Plural Object Pronouns

Us, them, and occasionally you and they function as plural object pronouns.

For example:

  • My aunt surprised us with a visit.
  • Sanna rented the vacation home for them.
  • You kids are the best. I know you all enjoy this class too.
  • I really appreciate my students. I hope they know I care about them.

Pronoun Comparison Table

To help you keep your subject and object pronouns organized, use this quick reference chart.

Pronoun:
I

Subject/Object:
Subject

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
He

Subject/Object:
Subject

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
She

Subject/Object:
Subject

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
We

Subject/Object:
Subject

Singular/Plural:
Plural

Pronoun:
They

Subject/Object:
Subject

Singular/Plural:
Plural

Pronoun:
You

Subject/Object:
Subject or Object

Singular/Plural:
Singular or Plural

Pronoun:
It

Subject/Object:
Subject or Object

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
Him

Subject/Object:
Object

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
Her

Subject/Object:
Object

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
Me

Subject/Object:
Object

Singular/Plural:
Singular

Pronoun:
Us

Subject/Object:
Object

Singular/Plural:
Plural

Pronoun:
Them

Subject/Object:
Object

Singular/Plural:
Plural

First, Second, and Third Person Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are subject and object pronouns that replace specific names or groups of people. They fall into three categories: first, second, or third personal pronouns and determine the point of view in which something is said or written.

First-Person Personal Pronouns

I and we are first-person subject pronouns. I is singular; we is plural.

For example:

  • I need to get chores done before dark.
  • We were all surprised when Donna showed up.

Me and us are first-person object pronouns. Me is singular; us is plural.

For example:

  • Did you ask me a question?
  • The grades mattered to all of us.

Second-Person Personal Pronouns

You is the only second-person subject and object pronoun. It can be singular or plural.

For example:

  • Only you can pick up the credentials at the gate.
  • You are the best students a teacher could ask for.
  • I handed the books to you last week.
  • Class, there are a few things I need to talk to you about.

Third-Person Personal Pronouns

She and he are third-person, singular subject pronouns.

For example:

  • She was a very kind and thoughtful person.
  • He drives his sister to school every day.

Her and him are third-person singular object pronouns.

For example:

  • That red car belongs to her.
  • The teacher didn’t know what to make of him.

It is a third-person singular subject and object pronoun.

For example:

  • It is a perfect day to go skiing.
  • Jonathan picked up dinner. I’m not sure what it is.

They is a third-person plural subject pronoun.

For example:

  • They should be here around 7 am so we can arrive on time.

Them is a third-person plural object pronoun.

For example:

  • Please explain to them the consequences of last night.

Personal Pronoun Chart

To help recognize the correct pronoun, use these quick reference charts.

Subjects

1st Person

Singular:
I

Plural:
We

2nd Person

Singular:
You

Plural:
You

3rd Person

Singular:
He, She, They, It

Plural:
They

Objects

1st Person

Singular:
Me

Plural:
Us

2nd Person

Singular:
You

Plural:
You

3rd Person

Singular:
Him, Her, Them, It

Plural:
Them

Let’s Review

Recognizing the differences between subject and object pronouns can be a bit tricky sometimes. Just remember, if you can label the subject and object in a sentence, then you can properly tell which pronoun represents the subject and which represents the object.

GRAMMARIST WORKSHEET 2022 11 16T142349.421
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