3 Easy English tips – how to select the correct pronoun:
Speaking English well always gives a positive impression. Whether you’re trying to move up within your current position or interviewing for a new job, using English correctly will increase your chances. Pronouns are perhaps one of the most sensitive spots in grammar, and using the wrong pronoun can be jarring to your listener. If you can learn to choose the right pronoun in English, it will make a big difference in your English. Take a look at today’s tips for choosing the correct pronoun and significantly improve your English:
Tip 1: Select the right Subject pronoun
The subject pronouns in English replace the nouns that are the subject of the verb in the sentence. The subject pronouns in English are: I, you, he, she, it, we and they. He and She must match the sex of the person. It is a subject in English and is used whenever the singular subject is not a person.
- Stephen King is a famous writer. He writes great mystery novels. (HE replaces Stephen King)
- Lake Placid is in the Adirondacks. It is a beautiful resort. (IT replaces Lake Placid)
Plural subjects require the plural subject pronouns we or they:
- Susan and Jerry are going to Costa Rica for a trip. They are leaving next week. (Compound subject Susan and Jerry.)
- Mary and I joined the travel club. We are looking forward to the Italian tour next spring. (Compound subject Mary and I, subject of verb: joined).
- You and she are the best students in the class. You both always complete your work on time. (Compound subject You and she, subject of verb: are)
In the 1970’s he and my dad started a landscape business, and they were very successful. (Compound subject he and my dad, subject of verb: started)
Tip 2: Understand the subject complement
In simplest terms, using the subject complement is for renaming or describing the subject of the verb. This is particularly true following the verb to be:
- “Hello, is Mr. Jackson there?” “Yes, this is
himhe,” replies Mr. Jackson. (renaming Mr. Jackson)
- “Good morning, I’m looking for Mrs. Ferguson.” Mrs. Ferguson replied, “Yes, this is
hershe speaking.” (renaming Mrs. Ferguson)
- “Who wrote the book, “Blue Sapphire?” Harry, my brother, said it was
himhe, and the book was written under the pen name J. Neilson. (describing Harry)
Guess what? Harry could also have said, “It is I who wrote it!” He would have been absolutely correct in his choice, and he would have demonstrated how well he really knew how to speak proper English!
Tip 3: Use Object pronouns when they’re called for
Prepositions (e.g. for, to, by, beneath, on) usually indicate that you must use the object pronoun me, you, him, her, us or them. This applies to prepositional phrases too, such as beside us, about him, by you, etc.
Between you and IBetween you and me, I don’t think the candidate is going to win in November.(preposition: between)
- This is going to be a big adventure for
Tom and ITom and me. We and the Jones brothers are leaving together today. (preposition: for)
Now you try to fill in the blanks with the correct pronoun. Answer box below.
Kay and Joe were trying to decide what _______ (they, them) wanted to do on their day off. It wasn’t easy for ________ (they, them) to decide because they had two friends who were visiting _________(her, them). They had to take care of ________ (they, them). Neither _________ (she, her) nor __________(he, him) could decide if ___________(they, them) would enjoy a day at the zoo. I couldn’t help Kay to decide. Between Joe and _______ (I, me) and their friends, all of ________(they, us) chose to go have a meal at the Pavillion Restaurant instead. _______ (I, me) along with ________ (they, them) paid the bill.
The English tips outlined above are common everyday mistakes you can hear wherever you go. Listen carefully and you can hear these mistakes in the media, read them in the newspaper, and in everyday business transactions. An educated speaker picks up on the person who continually makes the same errors and, unfortunately, tends to make quick judgments about that person.
One of the best self-study ways to improve your English is to read. There is no substitute – reading provides endless opportunities to see English in action. The trick with reading is that you have to find a subject you’re interested in reading about or you won’t keep it up.
If you’re looking for some external motivation, literacy courses help improve your English. Call us today and find out how our ESL experts can help you or your staff:
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We specialize in customizing English classes to meet your specific need. Contact us for a FREE consultation!
Answers to quiz: they, them, them, them, she, he, they, me, us, I, them.