views updated May 29 2018

PERSONAL PRONOUN. A PRONOUN that refers mainly but not exclusively to a person or people, and that in many languages makes distinctions of PERSON (often first, second, and third person), NUMBER, GENDER, and CASE. In English, most such pronouns distinguish subject and object case (I/me, he/him, she/her, we/us, they/them, and archaic thou/thee) and are the only words that do so (except for who/whom and whoever/whomever). Two pronouns, you and it, are without case distinction. In addition to its references to things, it can refer to information: They're cheaper this week: I read it in the paper. It also has some purely grammatical functions, as in It's raining and I hate it when people shout, in which it is known as existential it. The term personal pronoun is sometimes extended to cover possessive pronoun. See DUMMY, PERSON.

personal pronoun

views updated May 18 2018

per·son·al pro·noun • n. each of the pronouns in English (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them) comprising a set that shows contrasts of person, gender, number, and case.