Grammar Guide: Pronouns

Last week the Grammar Guide discussed nouns. Today we will discuss something very related to nouns: pronouns. The post on parts of speech explained the 4 main types of pronouns. There are subject pronouns, object pronouns, possessive adjectives, and possessive pronouns. Other types of pronouns include demonstrative, indefinite, reciprocal, reflexive, and relative pronouns.

The first thing to understand about pronouns is how they function. Pronouns are used to substitute or replace a given noun, called the antecedent. Using pronouns allows us to add variety to our language so that we don't have to repeat the same noun over and over again.

Subject Personal Pronouns
Subject pronouns take the place nouns in the subject position of a sentence.
I, you, he, she, it, we, you (plural), they

Scott is going to go running. He runs everyday.
The students will visit Yellowstone. They love to travel.

Object Personal Pronouns
Object pronouns take the place of nouns in direct object, indirect object, and object of the preposition positions of a sentence.
me, you, him, her, it, us, you (plural), them

Juan wrote a letter for his mother. He will mail it to her.
Your brothers love pizza. You should give them some pizza.

Possessive Personal Pronouns
Possessive pronouns take the place of both the possessive noun and the noun it modifies in a sentence.
mine, yours, his, hers, ours, yours (plural), theirs

My car is red. Yours is black.
Their house is large. Ours is small.

Demonstrative Pronouns
Demonstrative pronouns act as a pointer that indicates a particular noun rather than other possible nouns.
this, that, these, those

-Which apple do you want?
-This is the apple I want.

Interrogative Pronouns
Interrogative Pronouns are used to ask questions.
who, whom, which, what

Who is going to the picnic?
Whom do you know in the class?
What is your name?

Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite pronouns refer to categories of nouns in general.
anyone, anything, anybody
everyone, everything, everybody
someone, something, somebody
no one, nothing, nobody

Everyone is invited to the school party!
Carla is new to the US. She doesn't know anybody.
I have nothing in my basket.

Reciprocal Pronouns
Reciprocal pronouns refer to a mutual relationship.
each other, one another

They love each other.
For two years, they wrote one another.

Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive pronouns are used when nouns perform an action to themselves.
myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves

While I was washing dishes yesterday, I cut myself on a broken glass.
They thought to themselves about their future.

Relative Pronouns
Relative pronouns introduce an adjective clause and refer to the noun previously mentioned.

The boy who is wearing a red jacket is a new student.
The girl whom I met yesterday is a new student.
That house is where I lived for 20 years.

Pronouns are extremely useful in English to take the place of many different kinds of nouns. To learn more about pronouns and other grammar principles in English, visit us at Nomen Global.

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