Colloquial Pronouns

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Everybody knows the ordinary ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘you’, and ‘me’ pronouns. However, there are other more colloquial pronouns that native speakers use which can be a little tricky for non-natives.

The first-person singular ‘us’

This is pronounced as /uz/ and is used in place of ‘me’. It is used throughout Britain, though not as much in Southern England. In books it is sometimes written as ‘us’, ‘uz’ or ‘ays’, the last one especially in Scottish literature.

“Lend us a pen. Mine’s run out.”

‘Me’ as a possessive pronoun

In colloquial British English and English in some of the former colonies, especially Australia and New Zealand but also Jamaica, ‘me’ is used in place of the Standard English ‘my’. In Caribbean literature and some British literature it is sometimes written as ‘mi’. Americans think that only pirates speak like this.

“Me mum says I have to go home.”

‘Y’all’ and ‘youse’, the second-person plurals

The American ‘y’all’ is used mainly in the South of the USA and by some African Americans. It is used in place of the plural ‘you’.

“Y’all have to do what I say. I’m the boss.”

The British ‘youse’ or ‘yous’ is used in the same way. It is used in Australia, New Zealand and Britain. In Scottish literature ‘yiz’ is often written.

“Youse have to do your homework or the teacher’ll be cross.”

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I want another example!


This was originally a reply to a post on Google Plus but I thought it would also be useful for everyone. Using ‘other’ is difficult for some people because of the level of specificity (knowing if something is special to the topic of conversation) much like ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. Here are the basic uses.

The other: a specific singular or uncountable thing.

“Don’t buy the red jacket! Buy the other one.”

A different jacket both speakers understand.

The others: a specific countable group of things.

“If we are going to go out tonight we should invite the others.”

A group of people in the same friendship group.

Other: unspecific countable or uncountable things.

“Let’s talk to other people to see what they think.”

Different people.

Another: one unspecific thing.

“I have one car already but I want another for my wife.”

A car, maybe any car.