Author: British Council | Published on 1 February 2023


Stage 1: Present examples 

Write these groups of sentences on the board.

Ask: “What do you notice about these sentences?”

Lihle plays the mbira (finger piano).

She plays it every day.

Vusi plays the drums.

He plays them every day.

Lihle and Vusi play instruments in a band.

They practise them every weekend.

To help learners, you could:

Underline the subjects (Lihle, Vusi) and the objects (mbira, drums, instruments) in one colour and the personal pronouns (she, it, he, they, them) in another.

Add these sentences and ask: “What do you notice about these sentences?”

I play the guitar in the band. It isn’t mine.

Thobeka plays the whistle. It’s hers.

We play together.

To help learners, you could underline I, mine, hers and we. You could also read the sentences without pronouns, to show that they sound strange – e.g. Lihle plays the mbira. Lihle plays the mbira every day. 

Stage 2: Take feedback

Check understanding. Ask learners to give feedback on what they noticed from the examples. Some key points could include:

  • Pronouns replace a noun. They refer to the noun in the previous part of the text. 
  • Pronouns are used to prevent repetition e.g. Lihle plays the mbira. She plays it every day

Pronouns can be singular or plural e.g. 

Singular Plural
I we
you you
he/she they

Subject pronouns take the place of the subject in a sentence: I, he, she, you, it, we, and they

Object pronouns take the place of the object in a sentence: me, you, him, her, it, us, them.

The personal pronoun varies depending on where it is used in the sentence e.g. She plays the whistle. It is hers.

Stage 3: Use the grammar

Find the pronouns

Give learners a piece of text from a story or course book. They underline all the words they think are pronouns.

Hot Potato Pronoun Game

Prepare a list of questions to ask your learners, e.g. 

  • What do you think of your brother / sister?
  • What do you think of sweets?
  • What do you think of sunny weather? etc. 

The possible answers must contain a personal pronoun – I, he, she, it, we, they, them (e.g. I like him / I don’t like them / I like them)

Learners pass around the ‘hot potato’ (any object) and when you say “Stop!” the person holding it has to answer a question using a pronoun. 

Pronoun Memory Game

Split the class into small groups.

Make playing cards with these words: I, me, you, you, he, him, she, her, it, it, we, us, they, them. 

Learners mix up and turn over all of the cards so that the words are hidden.

One at a time, learners turn over two cards to try and match the subject and object pronouns. e.g. I-me, she-her, it-it, etc.