Subject Pronouns

Pronouns are usually specific to subjects or objects. For example, the pronoun ‘I’ is only used for a subject, whereas ‘me’ is only used for an object. Likewise, the word ‘he’ only relates to subjects, and ‘him’ only relates to objects. Certain pronouns can therefore be spoken of as ‘subject pronouns’, or ‘object pronouns’. The pronoun ‘you’ in modern English can be used for both subjects and objects. In Shakespeare's time though, the words ‘thou’ and ‘thee’ were used – ‘thou’ only ever referring to a subject, and ‘thee’ to an object. The following table lists all of the subject pronouns in both English and Portuguese.

Subject Pronouns

English

Portuguese

Notes

I

eu

 

we

nós

a gente

‘A gente’ is a colloquial expression that can mean ‘we’, but any verbs following it use the third person singular form (e.g. ‘a gente trabalha’ = ‘we work’, or more literally ‘people [in general] work’).

you (singular)

tu

você

o senhor

a senhora

 

you (plural)

vocês
vós
os senhores

as senhoras

‘Vós’ is now obsolete, but can still be found in some older literature. ‘Vocês’ is the most commonly used form.

he/it (masculine)

ele

 

she/it (feminine)

ela

 

they

eles

elas