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Pronouns


DEFINITION

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun and eliminates the need for repetition.

John put John’s book back on the shelf. (repetitious)
John put his book back on the shelf. (the pronoun his replaces the antecedent John)

CLASSIFICATIONS

1. Personal pronouns refer to specific persons or things. Personal pronouns can act as subjects, objects, or possessives.

Singular personal pronouns: he, her, him, I, it, me, she, you
Plural personal pronouns: them, they, us, we

The personal pronouns that can be used as subjects of sentences include: he, I, it, she, they, we, you

He threw the ball very hard.
They all knew the correct answer.
She and I went to the concert together.

The personal pronouns that can be used as objects include: her, him, it, me, them, us, you

The teacher gave all of us a lot of homework over the weekend.
My girlfriend doesn’t think these pants fit me.
Have you ever tried it?

NOTE: The personal pronouns I and we are always used as subjects and NEVER objects sentences. The personal pronouns her, him, me, them, and us are always used as objects and NEVER subjects of sentences.

2. Possessive pronouns indicate ownership or possession.

Singular possessive pronouns: hers, his, its, mine, my, your, yours
Plural possessive pronouns: ours, theirs, yours

I rode my bike to the store this afternoon.
Your contribution was greatly appreciated.
They reviewed all proposals and chose ours because it was the best one.

3. Reflexive pronouns name a receiver of an action who is identical to the doer of the action.

Singular reflexive pronouns: herself, himself, itself, myself, yourself
Plural reflexive pronouns: ourselves, themselves, yourselves

Peter congratulated himself on the excellent job he did.
I don’t want to hurt myself by doing these physically demanding tasks.
We owe it to ourselves to at least try it.

4. Intensive pronouns emphasize a noun or another pronoun.

Singular intensive pronouns: herself, himself, itself, myself, yourself
Plural intensive pronouns: ourselves, themselves, yourselves

I saw Tom Hanks himself at Starbucks today.
She herself is not entirely responsible for this catastrophe.
We ourselves all need to calm down because we will get through this.

5. Reciprocal pronouns express shared actions or feelings.

Reciprocal pronouns: Each other, one another

I hope that you and your brother will always be supportive of each other.
The two colleagues were both foodies and loved to dine with one another when they got the chance.

6. Indefinite pronouns refer to non-specific persons and things.

Indefinite pronouns: All, another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, neither, nobody, none, no one, nothing, one, several, some, somebody, someone, something

Unfortunately, everyone disagreed with I thought was a great idea.
None of us would even consider going out for a drink at this hour.
It is a sad reality that only a few of us would stand up and do the right thing in this situation.

7. Demonstrative pronouns are also considered noun markers. They “point” toward nouns.

Demonstrative pronouns: that, these, this, those

That man is my hero.
These chickens are ready to lay eggs.
Those people are making a lot of noise.

8. Interrogative Pronouns introduce questions.

Interrogative pronouns: what, which, who, whose, whom

Which one did you decide to take?
Who is going on the trip?
What are you doing?
To whom shall I send this correspondence?

9. Relative Pronouns introduce dependent clauses and refer to a person or thing already mentioned in the sentence (i.e., the antecedent).

Relative pronouns: that, which, who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose

The person who I decide to marry will be spectacular.
The tree that is blocking the pathway must be removed.


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