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Pronouns

 

6.2 pronouns

Pronouns are words like the ones highlighted in the sentence above: his, us, it, who, hers, and many others. They are used to replace a noun or a noun phrase in repeated uses of the same person, place, or thing in order to avoid repetitiousness in speaking and writing.

 

“I saw the movie, and I thought it was very scary.”

 

 

A pronoun can be used wherever a noun or a noun phrase can be used in a sentence.

There are a number of different types of pronouns that are used to replace, substitute, or take the place of nouns. These include:

 

  1. Personal pronouns
  2. Demonstrative pronouns
  3. Interrogative pronouns
  4. Reflexive/intensive pronouns
  5. Relative pronouns
  6. Indefinite pronouns

 

1. Personal Pronouns

These refer to specific persons or things and can be altered according to:

 

  • Number: singular/plural (I/we)
  • Gender: male/female/neutral (he/she/it)
  • Person: 1st/2nd/3rd(I/you/he)
  • Case: subject/object (we/us)

 

Within these pronouns, there are three different sub-classes of pronouns:

 

    1. Subjective personal pronouns = these always act as the subject of a sentence (I, you, he, she, it, we, you all, and they)

 

  • I like pizza.”
  • You like pizza.”
  • He/She/It likes pizza.”
  • We like pizza.”
  • You (plural) like pizza.”
  • They like pizza.”

 

    1. Objective personal pronouns = these always act as the object of a sentence (me, you, him, her, it, us, you all, and them)

 

  • “The teacher was talking to me.”
  • “The teacher was talking to you.”
  • “The teacher was talking to him/her/it.”
  • “The teacher was talking to us.”
  • “The teacher was talking to all of you.”
  • “The teacher was talking to them.”

 

  1. Possessive personal pronouns = these always show possession (mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs)

 

  • “The book is mine.”
  • “The book is yours.”
  • “The book is his/hers.”

 

  • “The book is ours.”
  • “The book is theirs.”

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

These types of pronouns point out or indicate a noun or noun phrase (this, that, these, those).

This and these are used to demonstrate things that are close in time or distance, while that and those are used to demonstrate things that are farther away. This and thatare used to describe singularnouns, while these and thoseare used to describe pluralnouns. For example:

 

  • This is the building I work in currently(said while inside the building);that is the building I used to work in (said while pointing out a window to building across the road)
  • These are my favorite shoes (referring to the shoes the speaker is currently wearing);thoseare my old ones (said while pointing to the ones in the closet)

 

3. Interrogative Pronouns

These types of pronouns are used to ask questions (who, whom, what, and which). They represent the information being asked about. For example:

 

  • Q: “Who is going?”A: (person)
  • Q: “What did you see?”A: (thing)
  • Q: “Which one is first?”A: (person/thing)

 

4. Reflexive/intensive Pronouns

These refer back to the subject of the clause or sentence (myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves). For example:

 

  • “He gave himself a haircut.”
  • “I am pouring myself a drink.”
  • “We should give ourselves more credit.”
  • “I myself am scared of spiders.” *(intensive pronoun – emphasizing antecedent – this pronoun is used to add emphasis to the subject, “I”)*

 

5. Relative Pronouns

These types of pronouns are used to connect one phrase or clause to another (who, whom, that, which, whoever, whomever, and whichever). For example:

 

  • “The officer who pulled me over was not very nice.”
  • “The meal that I ate was delicious.”
  • “The paper, whichincludes all the details, can be found in the top drawer.”

 

6. Indefinite Pronouns

These types of pronouns refer to a person, thing, or amount in an unspecific, general manner (all, any, another, anyone, anybody, anything, each, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, much, nobody, none, several, some,and somebody/someone). For example:

 

  • Somebody left their keys in the room.”
  • Everything got wet in the boat.”
  • Few stayed behind to help with the cleanup.”

 

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