Grammar pronouns



Grammar pronouns


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Grammar pronouns


Pronouns: A pronoun is a word that substitutes or stands for a noun or noun phrase. 

There are a number of different kinds of pronouns in English: personal, interrogative, demonstrative, indefinite, relative, reflexive, and intensive. 

● Personal: Personal pronouns occur in three cases: nominative, objective, and possessive.


   ▪ The pronouns I, you, he, she, it, we, and they are the subject, nominative case, personal pronouns. Use them to substitute the names of the people or things that perform actions. In English, no distinction is made between singular and plural forms of "you".


EG: She took the bus last night. (She substitutes for the name of the person who took the bus.)


  ▪ The pronouns me, you, him, her, it, them, and us are the object, objective case, personal pronouns. Use them to substitute the names of the people or things that are affected by an action.


EG: James handed a book to John and John took it. (It substitutes for the name of the thing that John took which was the book.)


  ▪ The pronouns my, mine, your, yours, his, hers, its, our, ours, your, yours, their, and theirs are the possessive case pronouns that show ownership. They may stand alone in a sentence or may be used as adjectives.


EG: My book is on the desk in front of yours.  (My is used as an adjective and refers to the owner of the book, while yours stands alone as a possessive case pronoun and refers to the person who owns the other book)


Interrogative: The interrogative pronouns (who/which/what) introduce questions.


EG: What is her phone number?

      Who is in charge?

      Which way should we go?


● Demonstrative: These pronouns refer to things that are near or distant. When used in a sentence, demonstratives are usually in or near the sentence in which the antecedent appears.

EG: You take these bags, and I’ll take those.

EG: We bought this last year.



Singular        Plural









Indefinite: An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to a nonspecific singular or plural person or thing. The most common indefinite pronouns are all, another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, each, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, nobody, none, one, several, some, somebody, and someone.   Note: Some indefinite pronouns can also be used as indefinite adjectives.


● Relative: Relative pronouns, such as that, who, which, whose, and whom can be used to introduce dependent, adjective subordinate clauses in sentences.


EG: The woman who interviewed me was very friendly.

EG: I can't stand dogs that bark loudly.


For additional information on relative pronouns and their use, see the section on Adjective Subordinate Clauses further on in this glossary.


● Reflexive: The reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. Reflexive pronouns are used when the complement of the verb is the same as the subject. The pronoun reflects back to the subject from the predicate as a direct object, an indirect object, or as an object of the preposition.


EG: He shot himself. (“Himself”, the direct object, reflects back to the subject, he)

EG: Jane bought ice cream for Amy and herself. (“Herself”, the object of the preposition for, reflects back to the subject, Jane)


● Intensive:  An intensive pronoun is a pronoun used to emphasize its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are identical in form to reflexive pronouns.


EG: I myself believe that aliens should abduct my sister. (“Myself” emphasizes the subject, I)

EG: I like peanut M&M candies myself. (Although appearing in the predicate, the intensive pronoun, myself, used here, emphasizes the subject, I.)

 Note: To determine if a pronoun is reflexiveor intensive when the pronoun appears in the predicate, restate the sentence with the pronoun placed next to the subject. If the meaning of the sentence is unchanged, the pronoun is intensive. The previous sentence may be restated as:

EG:  I myself like peanut M&M candies. (The pronoun is intensive, not reflexive in both the original version of the sentence and in its restated from)


Pronoun and its Antecedent:  an antecedent is the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers. Agreement is the correspondence in person, number, gender, and case (Refer to Personal Pronouns for information on Case) between the words.


EG: I enjoy cartoons, but my friends thinkthey are silly. (The plural pronoun “they” refers to the plural noun “cartoons. The word “they” is third person, plural, neuter, nominative)


● Person: Person refers to the form of a word as it relates to the subject.

1. First person refers to the speaker. The pronouns I, me, myself, my, mine, we, us, ourselves, our, and ours are first person.

2. Second person refers to the one or ones, indicating plural, being spoken to. The pronouns you, yourself, your, and yours are second person. Second person pronouns can function as either singular or plural.

3. Third person refers to the one or ones, plural, being spoken about. The pronouns he, she, it, him, her, himself, herself, himself, his, her, hers, or its are used when referring to one individual, person, place, or thing. The pronouns they, them, themselves, their, and theirs are used when referring simultaneously to more than one person, place or thing.



● Number: Number refers to whether the pronoun used is singular or plural. Because a pronoun refers back to a noun, its antecedent, or takes the place of a noun, they must agree in number. If the pronoun takes the place of a singular noun, you have to use a singular pronoun.

EG: If a student parks a car on campus, he or she has to buy a parking sticker.

INCORRECT:  If a student parks a car on campus, they have to buy a parking sticker. (Incorrect construction)

REMEMBER: The words everybody, anybody, anyone, each, neither, nobody, someone, a person, etc.. are singular and take singular pronouns.

EG: Everybody ought to do his or her best. (NOT: their best)

EG: Neither of the girls brought her umbrella. (NOT: their umbrellas)


● Gender: Is a grammatical category found in many languages, including English, in which a pronoun is classified as masculine, feminine or neuter.


            ▪ The pronouns he, him, his, and himself are classified as masculine pronouns.


            ▪ The pronouns she, her, hers, and herself are classified as feminine pronouns.


            ▪ The pronouns it, its, and itself are classified as neuter pronouns.


            ▪ Other pronouns such as their, theirs, and themselves may be masculine, feminine, or neuter     depending on the antecedents.



Note: Many people find the construction "his or her" wordy, so if it is possible to use a plural noun as your antecedent so that you can use "they" as your pronoun, it may be wise to do so. If you do use a singular noun and the context makes the gender clear, then it is permissible to use just "his" or "her" rather than "his or her."


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Grammar pronouns

  • Pronouns:

There are seven common personal pronouns we use, they take the place of a noun. (An antecedent is the noun the pronoun replaces or talks about.) Pronouns are grouped in different ways that can overlap:

  • First person pronouns –(tell about me)                    I, we
  • Second person – (tell about you)                            you
  • Third person pronouns – (tell about someone else)     he, she, it, they,


  • Personal pronouns: substitute for a person, place, thing, or idea that is the subject of the sentence.

 They Do Things.

ex.  I, you, we, they, he, she, it

(The personal pronoun “I” is always capitalized)


  • Personal pronouns: substitute for a person, place, thing, or idea that is the object of the sentence.

        They have Something Done To Them.

ex.  me, you, us, them, him, her, it


  • Possessive pronouns: tell who owns something. They answer the question “Whose is it?”  These pronouns can complete the sentence “It is____.”

ex.  mine, yours, ours, his, theirs, hers, its


Other possessive pronouns can go in front of the noun to show who owns that noun. (They work like an adjective then.)

 ex.  my shoes, our books, his ball, her mittens, their home,  

      your crayons


  • Reflexive pronouns:  direct the action of the verb back to the subject.  A reflexive pronoun has –self or –selves added to the personal pronoun.

(a trick to test reflexive pronoun use:  try the sentence with a simple personal pronoun, if it makes sense, don’t add the extra –self or –selves to the pronoun.)

ex.  themselves, myself, herself, itself, yourselves, ourselves, yourself


  • Relative pronoun: relates back to the noun or pronoun in the sentence.
  • who -replaces people
  • which -replaces things
  • that -replaces people or things


  • Interrogative pronounsare used in questions.
  • who (subject- the person who does something),
  • whom (object- the person something is done to),
  • whoever
  • which
  • what
  • whose
  • Demonstrative pronouns: they point out which things or people we are talking about. They answer the question “Which?”

ex,  this, that, these, those



  • Indefinite pronouns: don’t refer to a specific noun.

They answer the question “Which?” and tell about the number of people or things.

ex.  all, each, most, other, either, several, some, nobody,

     someone, such, something, many, few, none, everyone,

     anything, both

  • Sentences:

      Sentences are the core of written communication.  Without them, people could not share their ideas, plans, or stories in writing with other people.  A sentence must have a clear thought and be written in an order that makes sense.  To write well you need to learn what makes up a good sentence and practice writing them by the rules of writing.

        There are four kinds of sentences.  Each one has a different purpose.

  • Declarative sentences make a statement.  They are information statements that end with a period.  ex. The book is on the table.


  • Imperative sentences give a command. They tell others what to do. They also end with a period.  ex. Feed the dog.


  • Interrogative sentences ask a question and they end with a question mark.  ex.  Did you do your homework?


  • Exclamatory sentences show strong emotion.  They end with an exclamation point.  ex. Go to your room!


There’s three ways to make a sentence. 

  • Simple sentences: have one complete subject and one complete predicate.  ex.  My cat has three kittens.

An independent clause is a simple sentence that’s part of a bigger sentence (a compound sentence).  The independent clause can ‘stand alone’ as a sentence and make sense all by itself.

  • Compound sentences: are made of two or more simple sentences joined by a comma or conjunction.

 ex. You may have a kitten or you can choose a puppy.


  • Complex sentences: have one independent clause (a grammatically complete sentence) and at least one dependent clause (groups of words with ideas but alone they do not make a complete sentence.  They add information to the complete sentence that they join.)

 ex.  If a cat likes you, it will sit with you.


Then we have run-on-sentences.  These are the kind of sentences that we don’t want to write.  They are really two or more simple sentences that run together without conjunctions or punctuation, and, they are too hard to read because we don’t know where we should stop to take a breath.




  • Subject:

The subject is the part of a sentence that has the noun or pronoun in it.  It tells who or what the sentence is about. 


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