Personal Pronouns

人称代名词

Introduction 简介
Personal pronouns refer to person (or agent) who performs the action of a sentence. In English, these words like "I", "he", "her", "us", etc.

The personal pronouns in Chinese differ from those in English in a number of ways. Mainly, rather than dividing their personal pronouns based on gender as in many Western European languages, Chinese uses other societal clues. In the spoken language, the words () he, () she, and () it are all pronounced exactly the same. The characters used to represent them are Western influenced, literary distinctions. Their plural counterparts are the same way.

Similar to Old English ye and thou, Chinese has both an informal () and formal (nín) version of the word you. There is also a plural version 你们 (nǐmen), similar to "you all" or "you guys".

Another particularity of Chinese personal pronouns is that it has two versions of the word we, 我们 (wǒmen) the exclusive (the listener is not part of the group) and 咱们 (zánmen) the inclusive (the listener is considered part of the group). The distinction is similar to the difference between we and everyone.

If you find this overwhelming, you can take solace knowing that Chinese personal pronouns do not change when used as objects in other grammatical cases. For instance, () means both I and me.
Singular First-person
Play
I me
Second-person
Play
you informal
Play
nín
you formal
Third-person
Play
he him
Play
she her
Play
it
Plural First-person
Play 我们
wǒmen
we exclusive us exclusive
Play 咱们
zánmen
we inclusive us inclusive
Second-person
Play 你们
nǐmen
you all
Third-person
Play 他们
tāmen
they masculine them masculine
Play 她们
tāmen
they feminine them feminine
Play 它们
tāmen
they neuter them neuter
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