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How to Teach Object Pronouns to ESL Students (With Examples)

Teaching object pronouns to ESL (English as a Second Language) students is a pivotal step in their language learning journey. Object pronouns, serving as replacements for nouns that receive the action of a verb, are fundamental in crafting clear and concise sentences. Understanding and mastering object pronouns enable learners to navigate English grammar proficiently, enhancing their ability to communicate effectively and express ideas more fluently. In this instructional guide, we’ll explore engaging methodologies and activities designed to introduce and reinforce the concept of object pronouns, empowering ESL students to employ these linguistic tools confidently in their everyday communication. In this resource, we review how to teach object pronouns to ESL students (and other students too!).

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Start By Using What Your Students Already Know

Before you start introducing pronouns, talk to your students about what they already know. To measure what they understand, you can ask your students to give examples of nouns and verbs. Pronouns should only be introduced after your students can grasp the idea of the verb “to be” and other simple sentences have been learned.

Object Pronoun Exercise

One of the best ways to introduce the idea of object pronouns is by looking at the placement of verbs in simple sentences. This exercise is a great way to teach object pronouns:

1) On a board or on a piece of paper, write down 4 columns with labels “Sentence, Subject Pronouns, Verb, Object Pronouns”: Have them break down the sentences and place each part in the respective columns. A few tips:

  • You can explain that a general rule of thumb is that object pronouns generally follow after verbs
  • Subject pronouns typically start sentences

Your board or piece of paper should look like this (you can use our sentences or write your own):

SentenceSubject PronounVerbObject Pronoun
Larry bought a hamburger yesterday.Larryboughta hamburger
He gave me several dollars today.Hegaveseveral dollars
Teachers like their students.Teachersliketheir students
Wendy picked up the volleyballsWendypickedthe volleyballs
The hamburger gave me a stomach ache.The Hamburgergavea stomach ache

2) Next, ask your students which words have been replaced and which pronouns replaced them. Below are some examples that are filled in:

SentenceWhich Word Was Replaced?Which Pronoun Replaced them?
Larry bought it yesterday.A hamburgerit
He gave me several dollars today.several dollarthem
Teachers like their students.their studentsthem
Wendy picked them upthe volleyballsthem
The hamburger gave me a stomach ache.a stomach acheit

3) Finally, Provide your students with blank charts, like the above two. Have them fill in each respective column and discuss / correct as a class. Your charts will look like this, but feel free to change the sentences from the examples you shared above.

SentenceSubject PronounVerbObject Pronoun
Larry bought a hamburger yesterday.
He gave me several dollars today.
Teachers like their students.
Wendy picked up the volleyballs
The hamburger gave me a stomach ache.
SentenceWhich Word Was Replaced?Which Pronoun Replaced them?
Larry bought it yesterday.
He gave me several dollars today.
Teachers like their students.
Wendy picked them up
The hamburger gave me a stomach ache.

Final Thoughts on How to Teach Object Pronouns

We hope this resource was useful for you to effectively teach object pronouns to your students. For your students, learning object pronouns is an essential beginner level lesson on their road to becoming fluent in English. For English teachers, simplifying lesson plans such as the above object pronouns exercise will greatly help your students learn quickly and effectively.

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John Bart
Author: John Bart

I am the co-owner of englishlearningbypro.com, a community built specifically for English teachers around the world trying to make a living teaching English. I have lived in Brazil for four years and had previously taught private English classes for three years. I am passionate about helping others, and making English teaching and learning easier.

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