How to use personal pronouns in Vietnamese?

Like in English, pronouns act as a subject in a Vietnamese sentence. In this lesson, we’ll take a look at different pronouns in Vietnamese, and how to use them correctly.

I. The first person

The first person pronoun in Vietnamese is tôi which means I in English. It is the only personal pronoun that can be used in polite speech.

Also, the first person can be

  • tớ
  • mình
  • tui
  • tao

However, they are only used in informal case, e.g. when talking with close friends. Sometimes, the person uses anh, chị, em as the first person pronoun.

I = tôi, ta, tao, tớ, mình, tui

II. The second person

Personal pronounUsage
Bạn/ CậuUse for person who is as the same age as you or your friend
Anha man who is a little older than you
Chịa woman who is a little older than you
EmUse for person who are younger than you
a man who is older than you (Miss )
Chúa man who is older than you
an old female (Mrs., lady)
Ôngan old male (Mr., gentleman)
Màyinformal; a person who is same age or younger than you

III. The third person

For the 3rd person, we add the word ấy after the personal pronoun.

  • Anh ấy, ông ấy -> He
  • Chị ấy, cô ấy, bà ấy -> She
  • Nó -> It

Nó can be used to refer to things or animals but it can be used for third person in informal case.

IV. Plural personal pronoun

1. First person

For the first person, the word chúng is added before the personal address.

Tôi -> Chúng tôi Ta -> Chúng ta

Note:

Chúng ta is a group of people including speaker and listener, while Chúng tôi doesn’t include listener.

For example, when you write your wedding invitation you can’t write chúng ta (you and the one will receive invitation) are going to marry next week”.

The correct sentence is “Chúng tôi (in this context mean you and your partner) are going to marry next week”.

2. Second person

For the second person, we use the word các before the personal address. The word mấy is also correct.

  • Anh -> Các anh / Mấy anh
  • Chị -> Các chị / Mấy chị
  • Bạn -> Các bạn / Mấy bạn

3. Third person

For the third person, the word họ is used. It refers to a group of people in general - both male and female. Also, you can add the word ấy after the second person pronoun.

Anh -> Các anh ấy Chị -> Các chị ấy Bà -> Các bà ấy

V. Overview

Số ít: SingularSố nhiều: Plural
1st personTôi, MìnhChúng tôi, Chúng ta
2nd personÔngCác ông
Các bà
AnhCác anh
ChịCác chị
Các cô
ChúCác chú
BácCác bác
EmCác em
3rd personÔng ấyCác ông ấy
Bà ấyCác bà ấy
Anh ấyCác anh ấy
Chị ấyCác chị ấy
Cô ấyCác cô ấy
Em ấyCác em ấy
Họ (They, in general), Chúng nó / Tụi nó
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