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Definitions of a Pronoun
- A pronoun is a word that can replace a noun in a sentence.
- A pronoun is a part of speech that is used in place of a noun or a noun phrase.
- Pronoun is a word that is used instead of a noun or a noun phrase
- The meaning of PRONOUN is a word (such as I, he, she, you, it, we, or they) that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase.
- A pronoun is defined as a word or phrase that is used as a substitution for a noun or noun phrase, which is known as the pronoun's antecedent.
- A pronoun is used in place of a specific noun mentioned earlier in a sentence so that you don’t have to keep saying/writing that particular noun.
- Pronoun is a part of speech that replaces a noun in a sentence, assigning people or things as the subject.
- A pronoun is a type of word that replaces a noun (reminder, a noun is a person, place, or thing).
- Pronoun is a word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g. I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g. she, it, this).
- A pronoun is a word that you use to refer to someone or something when you do not need to use a noun, often because the person or thing has been mentioned earlier. Examples are 'it', 'she', 'something', and 'myself'.
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, noun phrase, or noun clause.
8 Types of Pronouns with Definitions and Examples
1. Personal Pronouns
2. Possessive Pronouns
3. Reflexive Pronouns
4. Demonstrative Pronouns
5. Indefinite Pronouns
6. Relative Pronouns
7. Interrogative Pronouns
8. Distribute Pronouns
Pronouns are small words that take the place of a noun. Pronouns are words like: he, you, ours, themselves, some, each... We can use a pronoun instead of a noun. If we didn't have pronouns, we would have to repeat a whole lot of nouns.
Types of Pronouns
1. Personal Pronouns
Personal pronouns represent specific people or things. We use them depending on:
- number: singular (e.g: I) or plural (e.g: we)
- person: 1st person (e.g: I), 2nd person (e.g: you) or 3rd person (e.g: he)
- gender: male (e.g: he), female (e.g: she) or neuter (e.g: it)
- case: subject (e.g: we) or object (e.g: us)
We use personal pronouns in place of the person or people that we are talking about. My name is Josef but when I am talking about myself I almost always use "I" or "me", not "Josef". When I am talking direct to you, I almost always use "you", not your name. When I am talking about another person, say John, I may start with "John" but then use "he" or "him". And so on.
Examples (in each pair, the first sentence shows a subject pronoun, the second an object pronoun):
- I like coffee. / John helped me.
- Do you like coffee? / John loves you.
- He runs fast. / Did Ram beat him?
- She is clever. / Does Mary know her?
- It doesn't work. / Can the man fix it?
- We went home. / Anthony drove us.
- Do you need a table for three? / Did John and Mary beat you at doubles?
- They played doubles. / John and Mary beat them.
When we are talking about a single thing, we almost always use it. However, there are a few exceptions. We may sometimes refer to an animal as he/him or she/her, especially if the animal is domesticated or a pet. Ships (and some other vessels or vehicles) as well as some countries are often treated as female and referred to as she/her. Here are some examples:
- This is our dog Rusty. He's an Alsatian.
- The Titanic was a great ship but she sank on her first voyage.
- My first car was a Mini and I treated her like my wife.
- Thailand has now opened her border with Cambodia.
For a single person, sometimes we don't know whether to use he or she. There are several solutions to this:
- If a teacher needs help, he or she should see the principal.
- If a teacher needs help, he should see the principal.
- If a teacher needs help, they should see the principal.
We often use it to introduce a remark:
- It is nice to have a holiday sometimes.
- It is important to dress well.
- It's difficult to find a job.
- Is it normal to see them together?
- It didn't take long to walk here.
We also often use it to talk about the weather, temperature, time and distance:
- It's raining.
- It will probably be hot tomorrow.
- Is it nine o'clock yet?
- It's 50 kilometres from here to Cambridge.
2. Demonstrative Pronouns
A demonstrative pronoun represents a thing or things:
- near in distance or time (this, these)
- far in distance or time (that, those)
Here are some examples with demonstrative pronouns, followed by an illustration:
- This tastes good.
- Have you seen this?
- These are bad times.
- Do you like these?
- That is beautiful.
- Look at that!
- Those were the days!
- Can you see those?
- This is heavier than that.
- These are bigger than those.
Normally we use demonstrative pronouns for things only. But we can use them for people when the person is identified. Look at these examples:
- This is Josef speaking. Is that Mary?
- That sounds like John.
3. Possessive Pronouns
We use possessive pronouns to refer to a specific person/people or thing/things (the "antecedent") belonging to a person/people (and sometimes belonging to an animal/animals or thing/things).
We use possessive pronouns depending on:
- number: singular (e.g: mine) or plural (e.g: ours)
- person: 1st person (eg: mine), 2nd person (e.g: yours) or 3rd person (e.g: his)
- gender: male (his), female (hers)
Below are the possessive pronouns, followed by some example sentences. Notice that each possessive pronoun can:
- be subject or object
- refer to a singular or plural antecedent
- Look at these pictures. Mine is the big one. (subject = My picture)
- I like your flowers. Do you like mine? (object = my flowers)
- I looked everywhere for your key. I found John's key but I couldn't find yours. (object = your key)
- My flowers are dying. Yours are lovely. (subject = Your flowers)
- All the essays were good but his was the best. (subject = his essay)
- John found his passport but Mary couldn't find hers. (object = her passport)
- John found his clothes but Mary couldn't find hers. (object = her clothes)
- Here is your car. Ours is over there, where we left it. (subject = Our car)
- Your photos are good. Ours are terrible. (subject = Our photos)
- Each couple's books are colour-coded. Yours are red. (subject = Your books)
- I don't like this family's garden but I like yours. (object = your garden)
- These aren't John and Mary's children. Theirs have black hair. (subject = Their children)
- John and Mary don't like your car. Do you like theirs? (object = their car)
4. Interrogative Pronouns
We use interrogative pronouns to ask questions. The interrogative pronoun represents the thing that we don't know (what we are asking the question about).
There are four main interrogative pronouns: who, whom, what, which
Notice that the possessive pronoun whose can also be an interrogative pronoun (an interrogative possessive pronoun).
Note that we sometimes use the suffix "-ever" to make compounds from some of these pronouns (mainly whoever, whatever, whichever). When we add "-ever", we use it for emphasis, often to show confusion or surprise. Look at these examples:
- Whoever would want to do such a nasty thing?
- Whatever did he say to make her cry like that?
- They're all fantastic! Whichever will you choose?
5. Reflexive Pronouns
6. Reciprocal Pronouns
We use reciprocal pronouns when each of two or more subjects is acting in the same way towards the other. For example, A is talking to B, and B is talking to A. So we say:
- A and B are talking to each other.
The action is "reciprocated". John talks to Mary and Mary talks to John. I give you a present and you give me a present. The dog bites the cat and the cat bites the dog.
There are only two reciprocal pronouns, and they are both two words:
- each other
- one another
When we use these reciprocal pronouns:
- there must be two or more people, things or groups involved (so we cannot use reciprocal pronouns with I, you [singular], he/she/it)
- they must be doing the same thing
Look at these examples:
- John and Mary love each other.
- Peter and David hate each other.
- The ten prisoners were all blaming one another.
- Both teams played hard against each other.
- We gave each other gifts.
- Why don't you believe each other?
- They can't see each other.
- The gangsters were fighting one another.
- The boats were bumping against each other in the storm.
7. Indefinite Pronouns
An indefinite pronoun does not refer to any specific person, thing or amount. It is vague and "not definite". Some typical indefinite pronouns are:
- all, another, any, anybody/anyone, anything, each, everybody/everyone, everything, few, many, nobody, none, one, several, some, somebody/someone
Most indefinite pronouns are either singular or plural. However, some of them can be singular in one context and plural in another. The most common indefinite pronouns are listed below, with examples, as singular, plural or singular/plural.
Notice that a singular pronoun takes a singular verb AND that any personal pronoun should also agree (in number and gender). Look at these examples:
- Each of the players has a doctor.
- I met two girls. One has given me her phone number.
Similarly, plural pronouns need plural agreement:
- Many have expressed their views.
8. Relative Pronouns
A relative pronoun is a pronoun that introduces a relative clause. It is called a "relative" pronoun because it "relates" to the word that its relative clause modifies. Here is an example:
- The person who phoned me last night is my teacher.
In the above example, "who":
- relates to "The person", which "who phoned me last night" modifies
- introduces the relative clause "who phoned me last night"
There are five basic relative pronouns: who, whom, whose, which, that*
Who (subject) and whom (object) are generally only for people. Whose is for possession. Which is for things. That can be used for things and people only in defining relative clauses (clauses that are essential to the sentence and do not simply add extra information).
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