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He is the third-person singular masculine nominative case pronoun in Modern English.

It may also refer to:

Language

Alphabets

  • He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ and ヘ
  • He (letter), the fifth letter of many Semitic alphabets

Other

Literature

Music

  • "He" (song), a 1955 Christian song written by Jack Mullan

People

  • He (surname), Chinese surname, sometimes Hé or Ho; includes a list of notable individuals so named
  • Zheng He (1371–1433), Chinese admiral

Legendary

  • Immortal Woman He, or He Xiangu, one of the Eight Immortals of Taoism
  • He (和) and He (合), collectively known as 和合二仙 (He-He er xian, "Two immortals He"), two Taoist immortals known as "Immortals of Harmony and Unity"

Honorifics

Places

Science

Chronology

Other acronyms


He (pronounced /hiː/) is a third-person, singular personal pronoun (subject case) in Modern English.

Personal pronouns in standard Modern English
Singular Plural
Subject Object Reflexive Subject Object Reflexive
First I me myself we us ourselves
Second you you yourself you you yourselves
Third Masculine he him himself they them themselves
Feminine she her herself
Neuter they them themself
it it itself
he him himself

Contents

Usage

People

He can be used as a substitution of a male's name.

Animals

"He" and "she" are often used to refer to domesticated animals and sometimes nondomesticated animals of the respective gender.

Generic

Some people believe that "There was rather an extended period of time in the history of the English language when the choice of a supposedly masculine personal pronoun (him) said nothing about the gender or sex of the referent.[1]

However, many people disagree with this assertion and instead recognize he and him as representative of forced male domination and female subordination.

Other

The pronoun He, with a universally capitalized H is often used to refer to the Christian God.

Gender

The gender system in Modern English is generally natural, semantic and logical, however it is most similar to languages whose gender systems primarily distinguish between the animate and inanimate, and between the personal and impersonal.[2] In the table RP stands for relative pronoun and PP for personal pronoun.

Gender classes in Modern English
Gender ClassExampleRPPP
animatepersonal1. malebrotherwhohe
2. femalesisterwhoshe
3. dualdoctorwhohe/she, he (they)
generic4. commonbabywho
which
he/she/it
it
5. collectivefamilywhich
who
it
they
impersonal6. higher male animalbullwhich
(who)
he/it
he
7. higher female animalcowwhich
(who)
she/it
she
8. lower animalantwhichit (he/she)
inanimate9. inanimateboxwhichit

Notes: RP is relative pronoun and PP personal pronoun. Alternatives are presented in three ways:
slash (/) — used equally; above & below — first preferred; parentheses "()" — unusual usage.

Etymology

Indo-European

The reconstructed Indo-European language provides a demonstrative pronoun ko.[3]

Germanic

English is a development of the West Germanic language family.

Old English

Old English personal pronouns
Nominative pron. Accusative Dative Genitive
1st Singular [ɪç] me(c) me min
Dual wit [wɪt] unc uncer
Plural [weː] us ure
2nd Singular þū [θuː] þe þin
Dual ġit [jɪt] inc incer
Plural ġē [jeː] eow eower
3rd Singular Masculine [heː] hine him his
Neuter hit [hɪt] hit him his
Feminine hēo [heːo] hie hire hire
Plural hīe [hiːə] hie him hira

Speakers of Old English (OE) considered each noun to have a grammatical gender — masculine, feminine or neuter.[4] Pronouns were generally (but not always)[5] selected to have the same grammatical gender as the noun they referred to. For example, dæg (IPA: [dæj], day) was masculine, so a masculine pronoun was used when referring to a day or days. The personal pronoun for a singular masculine subject was written he, just like Present-Day English (PrDE). However, OE he was probably pronounced like PrDE hay (IPA: [heː]). The vowel in hay is normally longer in duration than in the exlamation Hey! (IPA: [he]). Because the vowel sound of OE he was long in duration, scholars (and OE dictionaries) now write it as .

Middle English

Personal pronouns in Middle English
Singular Plural
Subject Object Possessive Subject Object Possessive
First I me mi(n) we us ure
Second thou thee thy ye you your
Third Impersonal hit it/him his he
they
hem
them
hir
their
Masculine he him his
Feminine sche hire hir

There was one change to the inflection of the masculine pronoun in Middle English. The OE dative form him replaced the OE accusative hine (IPA: [hine]). This meant that, in Middle English, there was no distinction between masculine and impersonal, except in the subject case of the third-person singular, until it from hit replaced him in the object case of the impersonal. Some people believe "there was rather an extended period of time in the history of the English language when the choice of a supposedly masculine personal pronoun (him) said nothing about the gender or sex of the referent."[6] However, many people disagree with this assertion and instead recognize he and him as representative of forced male domination and female subordination.

See also

References

  1. ^ Susanne Wagner, Gender in English Pronouns: Myth and Reality, PhD thesis, Albert Ludwigs Universität, 2003. Page 41.
  2. ^ Randolf Sidney Quirk, Geoffrey Greenbaum and Ian Svartvik, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, (London: Longman, 1985), p. 314.
  3. ^ 'Ko', The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth edition, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000).
  4. ^ Peter S Baker, Introduction to Old English, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).
  5. ^ Greville Corbett, Gender, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
  6. ^ Susanne Wagner (2004-07-22) (PDF). Gender in English pronouns: Myth and reality. Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. http://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/1412/pdf/Diss_Freidok.pdf. 

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Abbreviation

HE

  1. His Excellency, Her Excellency
  2. His Eminence
  3. high explosive
  4. Higher Education
  5. Health Education
  6. Hesse, a federal state of Germany.
  7. (Internet slang) How Embarrassing

Anagrams


Simple English

The English Wiktionary has dictionary definitions (meanings of a word) for:
he, his, and him

He is a third-person singular pronoun used to talk about a male.

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