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Him vs. He: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on April 10, 2024
Him is an object pronoun referring to a male person or animal. He is a subject pronoun used for a male person or animal.

Key Differences

Him is used as an object pronoun in sentences, meaning it is used after a verb or preposition to refer to a male person or animal previously mentioned or easily identified. He is a subject pronoun, used before a verb to indicate that a male person or animal is the subject of the verb.
He takes the action in a sentence, as in "He runs fast," where "he" is the one doing the running. In contrast, him receives the action, as in "I saw him," where "him" is the one being seen.
Pronouns like he are essential in English for indicating who is performing the action of a verb without repeating the person's name. Him is used to indicate to whom or what the action of the verb is done.
In questions, he is used when asking about the subject, such as "Who is he?" In contrast, him is used in questions about the object, like "Who did you call?"
He is used to express who is responsible for an action, as in "He broke the glass." Conversely, him is used to show who is affected by the action, as in "Give the book to him."

Comparison Chart

Role in Sentence

Object pronoun
Subject pronoun


After verbs and prepositions
Before verbs


Receives the action
Performs the action

Example Usage

"I spoke to him."
"He is speaking."

Question Form

"Is this for him?"
"Who is he?"

Him and He Definitions


Refers to a male in the context of the action being done to them.
The teacher asked him to answer the question.


Used to identify a male who is the subject of a verb.
He is the one who called earlier.


Object pronoun for a male person or animal.
I gave the book to him.


Refers to a male performing the action of the verb.
He answered the question correctly.


Used in sentences where the male is the receiver of an action.
She was looking for him all day.


Employed in sentences where the male is the doer of an action.
He drove the car to the store.


Used to refer to a male previously mentioned.
After speaking to John, I realized I had met him before.


Used in statements where the focus is on a male individual as the subject.
He is the best player on the team.


Employed in a sentence where the focus is on a male individual as an object.
This gift is for him.


Subject pronoun for a male person or animal.
He runs faster than anyone I know.


A male
The dog is a him.


A male person or animal. Sometimes used in combination
Is the cat a he? We saw a he-goat cross the road.


A masculine pronoun; he as a grammatical object.


What is 'him'?

'Him' is an object pronoun used to refer to a male person or animal.

When do I use 'him'?

Use 'him' to refer to a male as the object of a verb or preposition.

Can 'him' start a sentence?

Typically, 'him' does not start a sentence since it’s an object pronoun.

Is 'he' used in questions?

Yes, 'he' is used in questions about the subject.

Can 'him' be used for animals?

Yes, 'him' can refer to a male animal.

What is 'he'?

'He' is a subject pronoun for a male person or animal.

Do 'him' and 'he' always refer to people?

They refer to male persons or animals and can be used for personified objects.

Give an example of a sentence with 'him'.

"I spoke with him yesterday."

Is 'he' appropriate for non-human subjects?

'He' can be used for male animals or personified objects.

Can 'he' be used to refer to someone whose gender is unknown?

Traditionally, 'he' was used in this context, but modern usage often prefers gender-neutral pronouns.

When should I use 'he'?

Use 'he' when a male is the subject of the sentence.

Can 'he' and 'him' be interchangeable?

No, they serve different grammatical purposes.

Is 'him' formal or informal?

'Him' is neutral and used in both formal and informal contexts.

How does sentence structure change with 'him' vs 'he'?

'He' precedes the verb, while 'him' follows the verb or a preposition.

What is the difference in pronunciation between 'him' and 'he'?

'He' is pronounced with a long 'e' sound, while 'him' has a shorter 'i' sound.

Give an example of a sentence with 'he'.

"He completed the project on time."

Can 'him' be the subject of a verb?

No, 'him' is always the object.

How do I choose between 'him' and 'he'?

If the male person or animal is doing the action, use 'he'. If the action is being done to them, use 'him'.

Is 'he' ever used as an object pronoun?

No, 'he' is strictly a subject pronoun.

Are there any exceptions to using 'him' and 'he'?

Standard grammar rules apply consistently for these pronouns.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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