Questions tagged [pronouns]

A pronoun is a word that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase.

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55
votes
11answers
9k views

Use “him” or “her” in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

What should I use in this sentence? If he were a girl, I would have kissed him/her. Should I refer to the real gender of the person or the one I'm assuming the person to be and why? Edit : Recent ...
51
votes
11answers
16k views

Explain why “Who is she playing the piano?” is incorrect

A teacher asked me this question and I am having a hard time finding a simple way to explain it for her to share with her students. I`m looking for the easiest way to explain it to her because she ...
34
votes
6answers
42k views

Grammatical gender of the word “child”

I've been taught that a child is gender-neutral noun. But in the textbook on linguistics I've been reading, the noun is used as feminine. For example, a sentence in the book goes like this: The ...
31
votes
6answers
4k views

Is “Whom” a deprecated word?

I'm learning English through online courses. I'm enrolled at the Write101x, managed by University of Queensland, Australia. In this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a7UQe82tnY about 2:47 ...
27
votes
7answers
28k views

A “user” is “it” or “he/she”?

I'm not sure what is right and what not. I've searched on Google and could not find an answer to this. How should I write this: I'm speaking about a user. It is the main problem. The question is. ...
27
votes
9answers
6k views

How to deal with unknown genders in English?

When I start a sentence with words like "someone" or "somebody", I don't know how to choose the right pronoun at the end of the sentence. Examples: If anybody asks you about the money, tell (Him - ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Should always use uppercase “I”?

Should "I" (first person pronoun) always be used in uppercase, or does it depend on situation (uppercase in the first word of a sentence)? And why are other pronouns not capitalized?
23
votes
7answers
9k views

Can “he” and “man” refer to all genders?

All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Sima Qian said, "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a ...
22
votes
2answers
33k views

Each other's / each others'

This always nags me... I would prefer a logical as well as a grammatical explanation of it. We enjoyed each other's company. We enjoyed each others' company. Which one is correct? Why is the ...
21
votes
2answers
135k views

Talking about inanimate objects in plural: they or it

Should I say: Wash some apples and put them into a vase. or Wash some apples and put it into a vase. Is it correct to use they with inanimate objects?
21
votes
4answers
3k views

“the wife” instead of “my wife”, are there any other contexts where a possessive pronoun gets replaced by a definite article?

In English, one occasionally sees a replacement of my wife by the wife, such as in this sentence: there was a sudden thud and I joked to the wife that someone had run into us Does this ...
20
votes
2answers
14k views

is “them” only used for people?

Chop the tomatoes and onions and saute them/it? Should it be "them" or "it"? because I have heard that them is used only for people.
20
votes
2answers
76k views

it VS. this Vs. that

Iv'e never understood what is the difference between the subject pronoun "it" and the demonstratives "this" and "that". To be precise, I understand well the difference between those two ...
19
votes
5answers
27k views

Does the word God get the pronoun “it” or “he”?

Does the word God get the pronoun "it" or "he"? For example: I want to say thanks to God for what it / he gave me. I am talking about the God of Monotheism (force majeure) - like what the Jews ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Can adjectives modify a pronoun like “rich they”, “poor you” and “beautiful I”?

I want to modify a pronoun with adjectives like "rich he", "poor they" and "beautiful I". Can I do that? For example, can I say "I saw rich him driving a supercar", "Poor you can't buy foods enough", ...
17
votes
3answers
10k views

“…than I am” vs. “…than me”

I read an English grammar article in which the author talked about the correct use of pronouns. He writes: If the extended sentence is “She’s more likely to ask him than I am,” in which the ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

What exactly is the word “there” in an existential construction? And related questions

Consider the example below: "There was a cat under the table." There have been numerous questions asked that have involved the topic of existential constructions and the word "there" that is used ...
17
votes
5answers
146k views

anyone vs someone. Which one?

Has someone seen my bag? Has anyone seen my bag? Which one is grammatically correct and Why? Which one should I use at this place? Can you give some more examples?
16
votes
10answers
14k views

Can 'it' be used to refer to a person?

I read a dialogue. It went like this: A: Is this your family? B: Yes, it is. A: What a big family! Is this your sister? B: Yes, it is. Her name is Linda. (I think this should be "Yes, she is") A: ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

Using the pronoun 'we' when I'm not a part of it!

This has actually happened with me. I was confused and could not answer to my friend. The context was the traffic sense in India, which is worst! :) In that context, I was describing to my friend ...
14
votes
4answers
10k views

in order for I to do something — “for I”? why not “for me”?

Example: In order to make use of the database, we need a way to perform what are called CRUD tasks. That is to say we need a way to create new data items, read and find existing data items, update ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

To take oneself's life is not an act of courage

How do we make a reflexive using the "oneself" when referring to actions or inactions in a sentence. For examples: To take oneself's life is not an act of courage
13
votes
9answers
28k views

How common is the usage of “yous” as a plural of “you”?

Yesterday I was exposed to the fact the "yous" is a plural form of the pronoun you. while historically I know that "you" is actually the second person plural pronoun while the singular form is "thou". ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Using plural or singular verb after “neither” and “none”

With reference to "Neither", "none", "no one" + [of them] + verb-s None of the above sentences is strictly correct. Neither of the above sentence/sentences is/...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Grammatical number agreement in a complex phrase using singular “they”

Answering another question, I used the following phrase: Your reader is [...], but they are a busy person. I have two difficulties here: In the first phrase, a reader, being singular noun, ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do some sentences have “thy” instead of “the”?

I saw many times thy used instead of the, so why is that? When should I use it? What is the pronunciation of thy? From the Bible (Christianity.SE) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is this not a pronoun error? “To those of us who had heard the principal [..] the news of the staff cuts was not surprising.”

From the SAT: To those of us who had heard the principal of the high school talk about the budget, the news of the staff cuts was not surprising. Why is it had and not have? Because isn't those ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

“Despicable Me”: can “me” be used in such a way?

We know a movie named Despicable Me. I guess it means "I am despicable". But can me be used in such a way? For example, can I further say unavoidable me to mean "I am unavoidable"? Are there other ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

“Outside there is a money receiver which only accepts coins” - or “that only accepts coins”? Which relative pronoun is better?

I'm preparing for academic IELTS by writing some essays and then correcting those using a grammar correction app. In the following sentence, Outside there is a money receiver which only accepts coins ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

Is referring to people as “it” considered rude?

In Japanese, referring to people as "it" considered rude. Instead of "it", We say "that person" or information of the person (ex. a person who wares a blue shirt). In English, Is referring to people ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Repeating “them” in “support them rather than abandon them”

Support them rather than abandon them Is the above correct? Is the repeating of 'them' correct? Can we drop 'them' when we use it second time?
11
votes
3answers
52k views

Should I write “X and I”, “X and me”, “I and X”, or “me and X” in a conjoined object?

A question was asked in one of my friend's interview. The question was to determine the right form from the below sentences. Q. Correct form of English: Samuel was with Susan and I ...
11
votes
3answers
573 views

Using 'anyone' in affirmative contexts - Is “he just wanted to kill anyone” grammatical?

I've just stumbled across this article in the Japan Times: SAITAMA – Police, who are interrogating a 20-year-old college student from Saitama Prefecture on suspicion of stabbing to death a 21-year-...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Does the verb 'to busy' require a reflexive pronoun?

It busied me for hours. When 'busy' is used as a verb, does it always need reflexive pronouns? In the above sentence, I haven't used the reflexive pronoun. I am asking because in Merriam-Webster I ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it always necessary to repeat the pronoun before each verb?

Is it always necessary to repeat the pronoun before each verb? For example, do I need always to say: She called me and she said X or can I use a shorter one She called me and said X ?
10
votes
9answers
5k views

Can “it” refer to something we haven't mentioned yet?

We usually use pronouns to refer back to people or things that we already mentioned. Can we use pronouns before we mention the noun? A: Are you going to the game? B: No, it's sold out. There ...
10
votes
6answers
5k views

“Lily, not he/him, had planned the party” — Which pronoun is more appropriate?

In this sentence should I use "he" in place of 'him"? He explained that Lily, not him, had planned the party.
10
votes
1answer
3k views

When to use an object pronoun or a possessive adjective before a gerund

The rule says that we can use a possessive adjective or an object pronoun before a gerund. Is there a rule that says when to use each or are they interchangeable? Some say that it's wrong to use an ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between myself and by myself

Could you please explain me which option should I use? I would like to have a green house with rare plants from all over the world. I could take care of them (myself / by myself)? And why?
10
votes
2answers
2k views

'maybe not us' or 'maybe not we'

(from Seinfeld) -- We could build a cabin like that. -- Well, maybe not us, but two men could. I would use we instead of us. Is us here grammatically correct?
9
votes
3answers
7k views

Is using “you” to refer to anyone, not the person you're talking to, a known, specific grammar form?

I was discussing a certain road driving conditions with a friend. I said: You shouldn't be driving faster than 50 mph on that road! I didn't mean him or anybody in particular. I meant anybody driving ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

I'm confused with the use of 'herself''

The customer can serve herself, and then pay for the goods with the minimum of delay. In the sentence, the customer can be a male or female. But the pronoun 'herself' has been used. I'm confused with ...
9
votes
5answers
166k views

Its or Their to refer to a company?

The company will issue (their, its) annual report next month. In this case, should I use "its" or "their"?
9
votes
4answers
3k views

If it is “it wasn't me” then is it “it wasn't us”?

I've many times heard this phrase: It wasn't me Here the case of me is accusative. In that case should we say It wasn't us if the agent is plural?
9
votes
3answers
522 views

“It's difficult organising me” or “It's difficult organising myself”

I have been studying the use of the pronouns me, myself and I. I am fairly confident in tests, but there are some sentences that does not feel "right" to me (being a a native speaker myself). Maybe ...
9
votes
2answers
45k views

“Both you and he are very happy” or “Both you and him are very happy”?

It's a sentence on a test paper: Both you and he are very happy. The sentence itself sounds awkward. Let's cast the awkwardness aside and look into the grammar. It's understandable that as part of ...
9
votes
3answers
578 views

Can I put the question word “where” at the end of a question?

I got this sentence from a Primary 5 student's worksheet. According to this passage, this creature can be found where? Some of the parents think that the sentence should be "..., where can this ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

“It” vs. “that”

Is this sentence correct? I did it yesterday, but I’m not going to do it again. I’m not sure about it. Should I replace “it” with “that”? I did it yesterday, but I’m not going to do it ...
8
votes
4answers
13k views

Why is 'where' an adverb and not a pronoun?

A: Where are you going? B: I am going to school. Where took the place of school and something that takes the place of a noun is a pronoun. So, why isn't where a pronoun?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I refer to an ant as “she”?

In a long text about a foraging ant, would it be correct to refer to the ant always as "she" instead of "it"? For example, She wanders aimlessly until she finds a pheromone trail. A foraging ant ...

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