English - Pronouns

About

Pronouns are words that stand in for or replace nouns. Pronouns are those words that are going to take the place of a noun. Pronouns will rename nouns in order essentially to reduce repetition (she, he, it, his, her, their, they).

There are nine categories of pronouns:

Category

Subject

Subject pronouns include I, you, he, she, it, we, and they. As their name implies, subject pronouns always function as subjects of a sentence.

Number Person Gender Pronoun
Singular 1st Female/male I
Singular 2nd Female/male You
Singular 3rd Female She
Male He
Neuter It
Plural 1st Female/male We
Plural 2nd Female/male You
Plural 3rd Female/male/neuter They

This category of subject pronouns is a closed category. In other words, the pronouns listed are the complete set. No changes or additions exist.

Objective

Objective pronouns include me, you, him, her, it, us, and them. Objective pronouns always function as objects in a sentence, for example:

  • the direct object,
  • the indirect object,
  • or the object of a preposition.
Number Person Pronoun
Singular 1st Me
Singular 2nd You
Singular 3rd Him/Her/It
Plural 1st Us
Plural 2nd You
Plural 3rd Them

This category of object pronouns is a closed category. In other words, the pronouns listed are the complete set. No changes or additions occur.

Indefinite

Indefinite pronouns can function as either:

They're called indefinite pronouns because they're not specific. They refer to nothing specifically. They're general. They're generic.

Singular or plural verbs ?: They can be also singular or plural or both (depending on the context in which they are used). The reason this is most important is because the number of the pronoun determines the number of the verb to be used.

  • Singular indefinite pronouns use singular verbs.
  • Plural indefinite pronouns use plural verbs.
Indefinite pronouns Number Note
that end in –one singular Example: anyone, everyone, someone, and one.
that end in –body singular Example: anybody, somebody, and nobody
both, many, others, and several plural
any, more, most, and some singular or plural depending on how they are used

Example:

  • Everyone seems to have a social media account. (subject)
  • Most of the pie has been eaten. (Singular)
  • Most of the pies have been eaten. (Plural)

Relative

Relative pronouns include, most commonly:

  • that,
  • which,
  • who,
  • whom,
  • whoever,
  • whomever,
  • and where.

Relative pronouns introduce Adjective clauses.

Demonstrative

Demonstrative pronouns include This, That, These, and Those and can function as:

Demonstrative pronouns have only two characteristics:

  1. they represent number (one item or more than one item),
  2. they describe whether these items are near in distance or time OR far in distance or time.
Number Near in Distance or Time Far in Distance or Time
Singular This That
Plural These Those

This category of demonstrative pronouns is a closed category. In other words, the ones listed are the complete set. No changes or additions occur.

Below are several examples of sentences using demonstrative pronouns as subjects.

  • This is the best place to park.
  • These are the strawberries that are on sale.
  • That really got to me.
  • Those fell off the truck.

The following sentences use demonstrative pronouns as objects.

  • “Get as close as you can to that,” he stated, pointing to the loading dock.
  • “I want a handful of these,” she laughed picking up the strawberries.

Below are two sentences that use demonstrative pronouns as adjectives.

  • I need a picture of those flowers.
  • This phone is the one I truly want.

Possessive

Possessive pronouns are pronouns used to refer to subjects in sentences that are:

  • specific person/people
  • or thing/things

belonging to a person/people [and sometimes to an animal(s) or thing(s)].

Possessive pronouns function as subjects, objects, and adjectives.

Number Person Gender Possessive Pronoun
Singular 1st Female/male My/Mine
Singular 2nd Female/male Your/Yours
Singular 3rd Female Her/Hers
Male His
Neuter Its
Plural 1st Female/male Our/Ours
Plural 2nd Female/male Your/Yours
Plural 3rd Female/male/neuter Their/Theirs

Sentence examples using possessive pronouns as objects include.

  • That backpack looks like mine.
  • The restaurant’s bouillabaisse tastes similar to ours.

The following examples use possessive pronouns as adjectives.

  • That is my seat in which you are sitting.
  • Your seat is at the end of the row.

Interrogative

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions.

These pronouns represent the thing that isn’t known (what the question is asking about). Interrogative pronouns can stand in for subjects.

If the Subject is a … Use this pronoun…
Person Who
Thing What
Person/thing Which
Person Whose

Not where

This category of interrogative pronouns is a closed category. In other words, the ones listed are the complete set. There will be no changes or additions.

Example:

  • Who borrowed my pencil?
  • What will happen tomorrow?
  • Which seems to be the most popular?
  • Whose is the red blanket?

Reflexive

See Intensive

Intensive

Reflexive and Intensive pronouns each use the same forms.

Number Person Reflexive
Pronoun
Intensive
Pronoun
Singular 1st Myself Myself
Singular 2nd Yourself Yourself
Singular 3rd Himself
Herself
Itself
Himself
Herself
Itself
Plural 1st Ourselves Ourselves
Plural 2nd Yourselves Yourselves
Plural 3rd Themselves Themselves

This category of reflexive and intensive pronouns is a closed category. In other words, the ones listed are the complete set. There will be no changes or additions.

Reflexive pronouns function as objects in a sentence; they show subjects performing actions on themselves.

Below are two sentences using reflexive pronouns as objects.

  • He enjoyed himself painting the shed.
  • Chandra and Wallace watched themselves on video prepare the meal.

Intensive pronouns emphasize another noun or pronoun. See the following examples.

  • You yourself will be responsible for the delivery.
  • Raul and I ourselves seem to be the only people who want to hike the gorge.

Reference


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