A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence.
Pronouns are used to avoid repeating the same nouns over and over again.
For example, “Jeremy ran so fast, you’d think his life was on the line.”
The pronoun “his” saved us from repeating the name Jeremy again.
Common pronouns include I, me, mine, she, he, it, we, and us.
In truth, there are many different types of pronouns, each serving a different purpose.
Personal pronouns are used as a substitute for a person’s name.
There are two kinds: subjective and objective pronouns.
That is, they either act as the subject of the sentence or the object of the sentence.
As the subject of a sentence, they are:
First-person: I, We
Second person: You
Third-person: He, She, It, They
- They went to the store.
- I don’t want to leave.
- He runs a great shop in town.
- You can’t leave, either.
As the object of the sentence, they are:
- Please don’t sit beside me.
- Go talk to her.
- Mary put the gift under it.
- Don’t look at them.
Possessive pronouns show ownership or possession of a noun. They are:
- it’s (note there is no apostrophe)
- Is that my book?
- No, that’s his book.
- That’s its shelf.
- I’d like to see their bookshelves.
However, there are also independent possessive pronouns.
These pronouns refer to a previously named or understood noun. They stand alone and aren’t followed by any other noun. They are:
- That’s mine.
- Wrong. It’s ours.
- So, I suppose those clothes are yours?
- No, it’s theirs.
Indefinite pronouns stand for a person or things whose number and identity are not defined. They refer to persons or things in a vague and general way. They include:
- Most wealth is held by a select few.
- Everyone is here already.
- I don’t have any paper napkins. Can you bring some?
- He’s nobody.
Relative pronouns are used to connect a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun. We often see them when we need to add more information. They are:
- The driver who ran the stop sign was careless.
- I don’t know which pair of shoes you want.
- Take whichever ones you want.
- No, not that one.
Demonstrative pronouns take the place of a noun that’s already been mentioned. They can be singular or plural. There are five of them. They include:
- These are ugly.
- Those are lovely.
- Don’t drink this.
- Such was his understanding.
Interrogative means a word used in questions, such as how or what. So Interrogative pronouns do just what they say. They work in sentences that are posing a question. They are:
- Who is going to arrive first?
- What are you bringing to the party?
- Which of these do you like better?
- Whatever do you mean?
They refer back to a person or thing. We often use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object of a verb are the same.
Reflexive pronouns are similar to intensive pronouns. The difference between the two is that intensive pronouns aren’t essential to a sentence’s meaning. Meanwhile, reflexive pronouns are.
Also, they’re used when the subject and the object of a sentence refer to the same person or thing. These pronouns end in -self or -selves. They are:
- I told myself not to spend all my money on new shoes.
- You’re going to have to drive yourself to the restaurant today.
- We gave ourselves plenty of extra time.
- They bought themselves a new car.