Lesson 2 Personal pronouns in Chinese language – complete guide

Posted by Grace Feng on December 5, 2011

Personal pronouns are the words that we use to substitute proper or common nouns. Such as I, you, she, he, his, her etc.

I strongly suggest you to get familiar with all personal pronouns in Chinese language before you dive deeper into mandarin Chinese lessons. First of all, personal pronouns will frequently appear in our dialog examples and reading practice in later lessons. Secondly, it’s must-to-have knowledge even for very basic conversations. Last, personal pronouns in Chinese language are very easy to grasp. Even simpler than those in English in my opinion.

You know what confuses Chinese students most when they start to learn English? – “Why there are so many variations in the usage of personal pronouns?!” To a Chinese student, “I” is “I”, no matter which position it appears in a sentence, it should stay as “I”! So now you understand there’s no change of forms for I, or you, or he, or she in a Chinese sentence at all. In fact, you only need to know 7 characters to be able to use ANY personal pronouns in Chinese language. They are:


men de


We’ve learned “我” in Lesson1, which you should still remember I hope. If you don’t, please go back to Things to know before you start to learn Chinese to review it first. We’ll focus on the rest of the characters in this table now.

你, 他, 们, the three of them all have radical “亻” on their left hand side. “亻” implies “people related”. That doesn’t mean all people related characters have a “亻”. But there are a large amount of people related characters do. The right hand side part usually implies how the character sound. But not always either. We can give a name for this pattern so it’s easier for you to remember:

“meaning radical + sound part”

Among these three characters, only “们” perfectly fit into the “meaning radical + sound part” pattern:

“亻” (people related) + “门” [mén] (meaning: door)

As a matter of fact, there are big amount of Chinese characters follow the above rule. You will see more of them coming in the following lessons.

Now let’s get familiar with all the personal pronouns in Chinese language from the following tables:

Singularity: who

I you he
she it


Plurality: who + 们

we you they
我们 你们 他们


Possessive for singularity: who + 的

my your his
我的 你的 他的
her its
她的 它的


Possessive for Plurality: who + 们的

our your their
我们的 你们的 他们的


You might have noticed that “他” “她” and “它” all have exactly the same pronunciation. In Chinese, a few to a few tens of characters share the same pronunciation is quite common. That’s why in most cases you can’t tell Chinese people a single character and expect them to understand which character you’re referring to. You have to put the character in a word, or a sentence to make people understand exactly which character you’re talking about.

Please repeat with the recording and memorize the rules to form each group of pronouns (as shown above each table). Use the following estroke animation tool to practice your writing. Most important of all, memorize the pronunciation and the look of all words. You’ll meet them frequently in the following lessons.

  • You can copy and paste a few characters together into the box. They’ll show in the animation window one by one.
  • Once the stroke animation stops, click in the animation window and hit ENTER to replay it.
  • You can use the sliding bar to control writing speed of the animation.

See you next time!


Related posts:

Lesson 19 How to use character “ 着“ in Chinese
Lesson 23 How to say “Although ...” sentence pattern in Chinese
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 19


Category: JLC Chinese grammar lessons

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One Response to “Lesson 2 Personal pronouns in Chinese language – complete guide”

  1. nothing


    11-17-2017 12:21 am

    Hi Grace,
    I am a newbie and excited to learn about the pronounce.
    How do I copy paste the characters? I tried to copy from the ones you gave and paste it in the box but unable to do so.
    Please help.
    Thank you.


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