Grammar

Vietnamese Third Person Pronouns (with Southern & Northern Dialects)

Vietnamese Third Person Pronouns (with Southern & Northern Dialects)

If you have been trying to learn Vietnamese or following this site, you would probably know pronouns is a very complicated and confusing topic in Vietnamese language. However, it's a very important topic that you can't avoid and have to know it pretty well.

In this article, you will learn every thing about Vietnamese third person, both singular and plural. But before reading this article, make sure you are familiar with Vietnamese first and second singular pronouns. It is an in-depth article like no others, so please go ahead and read or revise the topic.

Third Person Singular

Aparently, there are more than just one way to refer to the third person singular in Vietnamese. Somehow, many conversational textbooks fail to address them so let's find out what they are!

First, let's look at the most commonly taught structure.

General: 2nd Person + ấy = 3rd person

2nd person 3rd person [ENG]
bạn bạn ấy he or she, same age as you
anh anh ấy he, older than you
chị chị ấy she, older than you
em em ấy he or she, younger than you
bác bác ấy he or she, older than your parent
chú chú ấy he, younger than your parent
cô ấy she, younger than your parent
ông ông ấy he, old enough to be your grandparent
bà ấy she, old enough to be your grandparent

This structure is mostly used in written Vietnamese or in formal settings.

This rule, however, does not apply to the second pronouns con or cháu. There are no such terms as "con ấy" or "cháu ấy".

Instead, will be used to refer to those who are younger than you (younger brother, younger sister, nephew, niece) or to someone who is a friend (same age as you).

2nd person 3rd person [ENG]
con / cháu male or female, young enough to be your children
bạn (intimate) male or female, same age as you
em (intimate) male or female, younger than you

also = it (an animal or an object)

To refer to a specific person that you know, you can also say "2nd person + their name". E.g. bạn Tuấn, chú Hải, ông Tám.

 

Southern Dialect: 2nd Person + question tone = 3rd Person

2nd Person 3rd Person [ENG]
bạn bản he or she, same age as you
anh ảnh he, older than you
chị chỉ she, older than you
em ẻm he or she, younger than you
cô cổ she, younger than your parent
ông ổng he, old enough to be your grandparent
bà bả she, old enough to be your grandparent

Basically, all the tones on the second person change to the question tone (dấu hỏi).

This rule, however, does not apply to some second person pronouns. You will instead need to use the general structure +ấy. Those are:

2nd Person 3rd Person [ENG]
bác bác ấy he or she, older than your parent
chú chú ấy he, younger than your parent

Vietnamese Courses

 

Northern Dialect: 2nd Person + í = 3rd Person

2nd person 3rd person [ENG]
bạn bạn í he or she, same age as you
anh anh í he, older than you
chị chị í she, older than you
em em í he or she, younger than you
bác bác í he or she, older than your parent
chú chú í he, younger than your parent
cô í she, younger than your parent
ông ông í he, old enough to be your grandparent
bà í she, old enough to be your grandparent

This structure is pretty simple. Instead of adding the word "ấy" to the second person pronouns, you'll add the word "í".

 

Third Person Plural

Once you've mastered the 3rd person singular, the plural forms are very straightforward.

mấy + 3rd Person Singular = 3rd Person Plural

2nd person [SOUTH] 3rd person plural [NORTH] 3rd person plural
bạn mấy bản mấy bạn í
anh mấy ảnh mấy anh í
chị mấy chỉ mấy chị í
em mấy ẻm mấy em í
bác mấy bác ấy mấy bác í
chú mấy chú ấy mấy chú í
mấy cổ mấy cô í
ông mấy ổng mấy ông í
mấy bả mấy bà í

And of course, there are some exceptions. Not all 3rd person pronouns follow this rule, such as:

3rd Person
Singular
3rd Person
Plural
[ENG]
bọn nó / chúng nó (intimate) he or she, younger than you /
it, animals or objects
- họ a group of people

 

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