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Personal Pronouns and More: A List of Chinese Pronouns

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Quiz: Can you list all the pronouns you know? They don’t have to be Chinese pronouns; they can be in English or your native language. 

Now, what would be the first five pronouns on your list? 

Naturally, most of us first think of pronouns like “I,” “me,” “you,” “he,” and “they,” which are all personal pronouns. We sometimes forget that the list of pronouns goes on. 

There are possessive pronouns like “his” or “her,” demonstrative pronouns like “this” or “that,” interrogative pronouns like “what” or “where,” and so on.

Before we move on to this big, extensive, and complete list of all pronouns in Chinese, get a sneak peek at the essential list of the most useful pronouns on ChineseClass101.com to see how many you already know! 

Ready? Let’s learn Chinese pronouns!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Chinese Personal Pronouns
  2. Chinese Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Chinese Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Conclusion

1. Chinese Personal Pronouns

Introducing Yourself

Personal pronouns are the most frequently used type of pronouns. Imagine how you would invite your friend to your party without using personal pronouns: “Adam wants to invite Nick to Adam’s party this weekend. Would Nick like to come?” That’s amusingly wordy.

Personal pronouns can be further broken down into smaller categories. 

1- Singular Personal Pronouns 

Let’s first sum up all the singular forms of Chinese personal pronouns. 

Keep in mind that all Chinese pronouns can be used as a subject or an object in a sentence. There’s no different forms for different parts of the sentence, like the difference between “he” and “him” in English. 

1. First Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “I” or “me”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 我是玛丽。
    Pinyin: Wǒ shì Mǎlì.
    In English: “I’m Mary.” 
    (我 as a subject)

  • In Chinese: 你是在笑我吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ shì zài xiào wǒ ma?
    In English: “Are you laughing at me?”
    (你 as an object)

2. Second Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “you”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 你是谁?
    Pinyin: Nǐ shì shéi?
    In English: “Who are you?” 
    (你 as a subject)

  • In Chinese: 我爱你。
    Pinyin: Wǒ ài nǐ.
    In English: “I love you.”
    (你 as an object)

When speaking with people who are senior in age or social status, such as teachers, supervisors, customers, or even strangers, it’s more polite and respectful to use the other form of 你, which is:

In Chinese:
Pinyin: nín
In English: (honorific/formal) “you”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 谢谢您的建议。
    Pinyin: Xièxie nín de jiànyì.
    In English: “Thank you for your advice.”

3. Third Person Singular

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “he” or “him”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 他在找你。
    Pinyin: Tā zài zhǎo nǐ.
    In English: “He is looking for you.”

  • In Chinese: 你认识他吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ rènshi tā ma?
    In English: “Do you know him?”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “she” or “her”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 她不会来。
    Pinyin: Tā búhuì lái.
    In English: “She won’t be here.”

  • In Chinese: 我记得她,但是她不记得我。
    Pinyin: Wǒ jìde tā , dànshì tā bú jìde wǒ.
    In English: “I remember her, but she doesn’t remember me.”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “it” (animal or object) 

它 () is often used to refer to an animal or an object that’s been mentioned, regardless of gender.

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 这是大白。它是一个机器人。
    Pinyin: Zhè shì Dàbái. Tā shì yí ge jīqìrén.
    In English: “This is Baymax. It is a robot.”

  • In Chinese: 大家都很喜欢它。
    Pinyin: Dàjiā dōu hěn xǐhuan tā.
    In English: “Everybody likes it very much.”

You may have noticed that Chinese has three different words for the third personal pronoun. 他 () is for men, 她 () is for women, and 它 () is for non-humans. However, they’re all pronounced the same way, which could make listening a little tricky. Make sure you check the context in case of confusion. 

Also be careful with the 他 () for “he” and the 她 () for “her” in Chinese characters. The right side of these two characters is the same. What you need to pay attention to is the radicals on the left side. 他 has the radical 亻which is often used to indicate “person” or “man,” whereas 她 has the radical 女 () which means “woman.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese characters, check out this video lesson on ChineseClass101.com that shows you the common way to decipher Chinese characters.

As for the non-human “it,” 它 () can’t be used as an impersonal pronoun to serve as a subject in a sentence. For example, in English, we can say “It’s raining,” or “It’s difficult.” In Chinese, the “it” doesn’t translate to 它. In fact, the “it” in these two sentences is often omitted in Chinese translation.

2- Plural Personal Pronouns 

Making plural personal pronouns in Chinese is simple and convenient. You only need to stick the word 们 (men) after each singular pronoun. 

1. First Person Plural

In Chinese: 我们
Pinyin: wǒmen
In English: “we” or “us”

Reminder: The pinyin for “we” (wǒmen) may look the same as “women” in English, but they’re not the same! Don’t forget that Pinyin is not English.

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你看见我们了吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ kànjiàn wǒmen le ma?
    In English: “Do you see us now?”

2. Second Person Plural

In Chinese: 你们
Pinyin: nǐmen 
In English: “you” (plural)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你们去哪?
    Pinyin: Nǐmen qù nǎ?
    In English: “Where are you going?”

The plural form of the honorific 您 (nín) is still 你们 (nǐmen), not 您们 (nínmen). You might have seen the word 您们, but it’s an incorrect word! Yep, even native speakers make mistakes when speaking Chinese. 

In order to be more polite when addressing a group of people, use phrases like 您二位 (nín èr wèi) and 您几位 (nín jǐ wèi), which are the more courteous ways to say “you two” and “you guys.”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 抱歉让您几位久等了。
    Pinyin: Bàoqiàn ràng nín jǐ wèi jiǔ děng le.
    In English: “Sorry to have kept you guys waiting.”

3. Third Person Plural

In Chinese: 他们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them”

This word is often used to refer to more than one male, or a mixed group of males and females.

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 他们终于到了。
    Pinyin: Tāmen zhōngyú dàole .
    In English: “They are finally here.”

In Chinese: 她们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them” (female)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我低估了她们。
    Pinyin: Wǒ dīgū le tāmen.
    In English: “I underestimated them.”

In Chinese: 它们
Pinyin: tāmen
In English: “they” or “them”  (animals or objects)

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 你给它们洗澡了吗?
    Pinyin: Nǐ gěi tāmen xǐzǎo le ma?
    In English: “Did you give them a bath yet?”

3- Possessive Personal Pronouns

Making Chinese possessive pronouns from the personal pronouns is also quite easy. In this case, you need the possessive particle 的 (de) after all of the personal pronouns. 

“Personal pronoun + 的 (de)” can be used the same way as an adjective before a noun, or they can be used as a noun by themselves. 

Here’s an example of the possessive form of the second singular pronoun:

In Chinese: 你的
Pinyin: nǐde
In English: “your” or “yours”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 你的新衬衫很好看。
    Pinyin: Nǐ de xīn chènshān hěn hǎokàn.
    In English: “Your new shirt looks great.”

  • In Chinese: 这个新衬衫是你的。
    Pinyin: Zhège xīn chènshān shì nǐ de.
    In English: “This new shirt is yours.”

An example of first plural possessive:

In Chinese: 我们的
Pinyin: wǒmen de
In English: “our” or “ours”

Example sentences:
  • In Chinese: 她是我们的老师。
    Pinyin: Tā shì wǒmen de lǎoshī.
    In English: “She is our teacher.”

  • In Chinese: 这排位子都是我们的。
    Pinyin: Zhè pái wèizi dōu shì wǒmen de.
    In English: “This row of seats is all ours.”

In some circumstances, the particle 的 can be omitted. A very common situation for 的 to be dropped is in colloquial speech, when possessive pronouns are used before close relationships, such as one’s family members, friends, home, or office. For example, it’s grammatically correct to say:

  • In Chinese: 我的妈妈回来了。
    Pinyin: Wǒde māma huílai le.
    In English: “My mom is back.”

But it sounds a bit formal. In everyday conversations, people are more likely to say:

  • In Chinese: 我妈回来了。
    Pinyin: Wǒ mā huílai le.
    In English: “My mom is back.”

In this sentence, not only is the word 妈妈 (māma), or “mom,” shortened and casualized to 妈 (), or “ma,” but the possessive pronoun 我的 (wǒde), meaning “my,” is also shortened to 我 (). 

Here’s another example of when 的 is dropped in a possessive pronoun in everyday language:

  • In Chinese: 他公司离这里不远。
    Pinyin: Tā gōngsī lí zhèli bù yuǎn. 
    In English: “His company is not far from here.”

Instead of using 他的公司 for “his company,” 他公司 is more often used in casual situations. 

4- Reflexive Personal Pronouns

Woman Pointing at Herself

Somehow in conversations, we always end up talking about ourselves. The pronouns that end with “-self” or “-selves” in English are called reflexive personal pronouns. 

In Chinese, we can also use a suffix after personal pronouns to make them reflexive and intensified. In this case, we add the word 自己 (zìjǐ), meaning “self.”

For example:

In Chinese: 我自己
Pinyin: wǒ zìjǐ
In English: “myself”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我自己看到的。
    Pinyin: Wǒ zìjǐ kàn dào de.
    In English: “I saw it myself.”

In Chinese: 你们自己
Pinyin: nǐmen zìjǐ
In English: “yourselves”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 照顾好你们自己。
    Pinyin: Zhàogu hǎo nǐmen zìjǐ.
    In English: “Take care of yourselves.”

Here’s a Chinese pronoun chart that sums up all the Chinese personal pronouns in different forms:

1st person2nd person3rd person (men)3rd person (women)3rd person (non-human)
singular我 

“I,” “we”
你 

“you”
他 

“he,” “him”
她 

“she,” “her”
它 

“it”
plural我们 
wǒmen
“we,” “us”
你们 
nǐmen
“you”
他们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
她们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
它们 
tāmen
“they,” “them”
singular possessive我的
wǒde 
“my,” “mine”
你的
nǐde
“your,” “yours”
他的
tāde
“his”
她的
tāde
“her,” “hers”
它的
tāde
“its”
plural possessive我们的
wǒmen de
“our,” “ours”
你们的
nǐmen de
“your,” “yours”
他们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
她们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
它们的
tāmen de
“their,” “theirs”
singular reflexive我自己
wǒ zìjǐ
“myself”
你自己
nǐ zìjǐ
“yourself”
他自己
tā zìjǐ
“himself”
她自己
tā zìjǐ
“herself”
它自己 
tā zìjǐ
“itself”
plural
reflexive
我们自己
wǒmen zìjǐ
“ourselves”
你们自己
nǐmen zìjǐ
“yourselves”
他们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”
她们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”
它们自己
tāmen zìjǐ
“themselves”

2. Chinese Demonstrative Pronouns

Basic Questions

The next most commonly used type of pronoun in Chinese is the demonstrative pronoun. This includes words such as “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” The usage of Chinese demonstrative pronouns is very similar to that in English. 

1- This & That 

In Chinese:
Pinyin: z
In English: “this”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 这是你们的房间。
    Pinyin: Zhè shì nǐmen de fángjiān.
    In English: “This is your room.”

In Chinese:
Pinyin:
In English: “that”

Example sentence: 
  • In Chinese: 那是不可能的。
    Pinyin: Nà shì bù kěnéng de.
    In English: “That is impossible.”

2- This & That + Measure Word + Noun

这 (z), meaning “this,” and 那 (), meaning “that,” can also be used before nouns to demonstrate the subject that one is talking about. However, in Chinese, 这 and 那 can’t be put directly before nouns. Instead, we need the help of 量词 (liàngcí), meaning “measure words,” or otherwise known as counters or classifiers. 

The most universal measure word is 个 (). It’s a safe word to go to for beginners. Here are some examples:

  • In Chinese: 这个女孩很漂亮。
    Pinyin: Zhègè nǚhái hěn piàoliang.
    In English: “This girl is very pretty.”

  • In Chinese: 这个网站很有用。
    Pinyin: Zhègè wǎngzhàn hěn yǒuyòng.
    In English: “This website is very useful.”

  • In Chinese: 我爸去过那个国家。
    Pinyin: Wǒ bà qù guo nàgè guójiā.
    In English: “My dad has been to that country.”

  • In Chinese: 请给我看一下那个钱包。
    Pinyin: Qǐng gěi wǒ kàn yíxià nàgè qiánbāo.
    In English: “Please let me take a look at that wallet.”

这 (z) and 那 () are sometimes pronounced as zhèi and nèi in colloquial speech. Both pronunciations are correct. It’s only a matter of personal preference. 

Also, in everyday language, 这个 (zhèige) and 那个 (nèige) are used as filler sounds, or so-called vocalized pauses, like “uh” and “um” in English. You’ll be surprised how often you hear Chinese people stutter with 这个 (zhèige) and 那个 (nèige) in conversations! 

Once you’re more confident with your Chinese, use 这 or 那 with specific measure words that go with specific nouns. For example:

  • In Chinese: 这辆车超酷。
    Pinyin: Zhè liàng chē chāokù.
    In English: “This car is super-cool.”

The measure word in this sentence, 辆 (liàng), is used for vehicles, such as 车 (chē), meaning “car.”

  • In Chinese: 我看过那本书。
    Pinyin: Wǒ kàn guo nà běn shū.
    In English: “I’ve read that book.”

The measure word here, 本 (běn) is used for books, or 书 (shū) in Chinese. 

3- These & Those

When demonstrating something with a quantity of more than one, we use 这 (zhè) and 那 () plus the word 些 (xiē).

In Chinese: 这些
Pinyin: zhèxiē
In English: “these”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 这些孩子玩得很开心。
    Pinyin: Zhèxiē háizi wán de hěn kāixīn.
    In English: “These kids are having a great time.”

In Chinese: 那些
Pinyin: nàxiē
In English: “those”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 不用担心那些事。
    Pinyin: Bú yòng dānxīn nàxiē shì.
    In English: “Don’t worry about those things.”

4- Here & There 

The Chinese words for “here” and “there” also use 这 (zhè) and 那 (), plus the suffix 里 () or 儿 (ér). 

In Chinese: 这里 / 这儿
Pinyin: zhèlǐ / zhèr
In English: “here”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 我来过这里 / 这儿。
    Pinyin: Wǒ lái guo zhèlǐ / zhèr.
    In English: “I’ve been here.”

In Chinese: 那里 / 那儿
Pinyin: nàlǐ / nàr 
In English: “there”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 那里 / 那儿有一个医院。
    Pinyin: Nàli / Nàr yǒu yí ge yīyuàn.
    In English: “There is a hospital over there.”

In general, 这里 (zhèlǐ), meaning “here,” and 那里 (nàlǐ), meaning “there,” are used more often in the southern part of China. In the northern part of China, people tend to use a lot of 儿化音 (ér huà yīn), which in this case are 这儿 (zhèr) and 那儿 (nàr). 

5- This Way & That Way

To say “this way” or “that way,” we need to put the word 边 (biān) after 这 (zhè) and 那 (). 

In Chinese: 这边
Pinyin: zhèbiān
In English: “this way”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 这边请。
    Pinyin: Zhèbiān qǐng.
    In English: “This way, please.”

In Chinese: 那边
Pinyin: nàbiān
In English: “that way”

Example sentence:
  • In Chinese: 厕所在那边。
    Pinyin: Cèsuǒ zài nàbiān.
    In English: “The restroom is over there.”

3. Chinese Interrogative Pronouns

Question Words in English

Humans are curious creatures. We like to ask questions. The words that we use to ask questions are called interrogative pronouns. 

In English, they often appear at the beginning of a question, with a reconstructed word order from a declarative sentence (or any other sentence that makes a statement). 

In Chinese, the word order in a question remains the same as in a declarative sentence. Therefore, asking questions in Chinese is easy. 

First, think about how you would answer the question in a declarative sentence, then replace the word or phrase that answers the question with an interrogative pronoun. 

The table below summarizes the most commonly used Chinese interrogative pronouns. 
Example sentences are given with both a literal translation and a natural English translation, so you can get a better idea of where interrogative pronouns go and what the word order is like in Chinese questions.

In ChinesePinyinIn EnglishExample SentenceLiteral TranslationNatural English Translation
什么shénme “what”你叫什么名字?
Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
“You’re called what name?”“What is your name?”
什么时候shénme shíhòu “when”我们什么时候见面?
Wǒmen shénme shíhòu jiànmiàn?
“We when meet?”“When shall we meet?”
哪里/哪儿nǎlǐ / nǎr?“where”电梯在哪里/哪儿?
Diàntī zài nǎlǐ / nǎr?
“Elevator/escalator at where?”“Where is the elevator/escalator?”
哪个/哪些nǎge / nǎxiē“which” (s) / “which” (p)哪个是你的手机?
Nǎge shì nǐ de shǒujī?

你喜欢哪些运动?
Nǐ xǐhuān nǎxiē yùndòng?
“Which is your cell phone?”



“You like which sports?”
“Which one is your phone?”



“Which sports do you like?”
shéi“who”她是谁?
Tā shì shéi?
“She is who?”“Who is she?”
多少duōshǎo“how many” / “how much”这个多少钱?
Zhège duōshǎo qián?
“This how much money?”“How much money is this?”
为什么wèishénme“why”他们为什么这么生气?
Tāmen wèishénme zhème shēngqì?
“They why so angry?” “Why are they so mad?”
怎么zěnme“how”请问,人民广场怎么走?
Qǐngwèn, rénmín guǎngchǎng zěnme zǒu?
“May I please ask, People’s Square how to walk?”
“Excuse me, how do I get to People’s Square?”

4. Conclusion

Improve Listening

Now if you were asked to take the quiz at the beginning of this article again, how many Chinese pronouns would you be able to put down?

You should have at least forty-six words on your list! 
Learning new words in groups like we did in this Chinese pronouns list has proven to be a great language-learning method to increase vocabulary. ChineseClass101.com has hundreds of vocabulary lists for you to add to your word bank. Sign up for a free lifetime account today so you can enjoy more Chinese learning fun with us!

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