4 Types of Pronouns

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4 Types of Pronouns

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. Pronouns are short words and can do everything that nouns can do and are one of the building blocks of a sentence. Common pronouns are he, she, you, me, I, we, us, this, them, that. A pronoun can act as a subject, direct object, indirect object, object of the preposition, and more and takes the place of any person, place, animal or thing.

So coffee becomes it, Barbara becomes she, Jeremy becomes he, the team becomes they, and in a sentence, Barbara drinks a cup of coffee every afternoon could become she drinks a cup of it every afternoon, or even she drinks it every afternoon, where the it would substitute the cup of coffee, not just the coffee.Write better and fasterGinger helps you write confidently..

Without pronouns, we’d constantly have to repeat nouns, and that would make our speech and writing repetitive, not to mention cumbersome. Without pronouns, Barbara drinks a cup of coffee every afternoonshe likes to have it before dinner would be Barbara drinks a cup of coffee every afternoonBarbara likes to have the cup of coffee before dinner. Using pronouns helps the flow of sentences and makes them more interesting

He

It

You

I

They

We

Who

Him

Them

Whoever

Anyone

Something

Nobody

Pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

Billy, Caren, and I were playing poker with friends -> We were playing poker with friends

Ellie loves watching movies. -> She loves watching movies, especially if they are comedies

?Will Daniel be going to the circus with Sarah? -> Will he be going there with her

As mentioned, pronouns are usually used to replace nouns, however they can also stand in for certain adverbsadjectivesand other pronouns. Almost anytime you refer to a person, animal, place or thing, you can use pronouns to add interest and make your speech or writing flow better

In nearly all cases, a pronoun must follow an expression called an antecedent. This basically means that a pronoun can only really be understood in the context of prior information about the noun. For example, if we use the pronoun she in a sentence, we will only be able to understand it if we know who she is, thus an antecedent, perhaps giving the person’s name, is usually supplied first.

In the example above Barbara drinks a cup of coffee every afternoon, if we had never mentioned Barbara or what she drinks, it would be unclear if we said, She drinks it every afternoon. Your reader would be confused and wonder who she is and what does she drink, wine, water, lemonade

Once Barbara has been mentioned, we would use the pronouns she and her later in the writing in order to stop repeating the proper noun Barbara and possessive proper noun Barbara’s
Barbara went to the restaurant for dinner with her (Barbara’s) friends. She (Barbara) was very hungry, but her (Barbara’s) friends would not stop chatting. Eventually, Barbara decided to take matters into her (Barbara’s) own hands and she (Barbara) demanded that they (Barbara’s friends) stop talking

Imagine how that sentence would read if it kept repeating Barbara and Barbara’s. Pronouns have acted to make the writing tighter and, arguably, much more elegant. This is just a basic example of the use of pronouns, they act in many ways to help make speech and writing more lucid and dynamic

Types of Pronouns

Pronouns can be divided into numerous categories including

Indefinite pronouns – those referring to one or more unspecified objects, beings, or places, such as someone, anybody, nothing. Notice in the examples below that there is no set position for where an indefinite pronoun will appear in a sentence
Indefinite pronoun examples
. Anyone
. Somebody
. Whichever
. Whoever
. Other
. Something
. NobodyIndefinite pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

?Would anyone like a coffee

Take whatever you like. Jamie took one cookie and Ben took the other

Whoever owns this is in big trouble! I want someone to move this now .Indefinite pronouns can also be used to create sentences that are almost abstract. Examples could include: this, all, such and something

All was not lost

Such is life

Something tells me this won’t end well

Personal pronouns – those associated with a certain person, thing, or group; all except you have distinct forms that indicate singular or plural number. Personal pronouns are always specific and are often used to replace a proper noun (someone’s name) or a collective group of people or things. Personal pronouns have two main groups, one referring to the subject of the sentence and one to the object
The first is used to replace the subject of the sentence: I, you, he, she, it, we, you and they. Notice that you is repeated as you can be singular, addressing one person, or plural, addressing a group of people.Personal pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

Jack and David are friends. They play basketball together

have more money than he

rules of

We will be late if you don’t hurry up. The second group of pronouns replaces the object of the sentence: me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them. Consider the sentence again :We will be late if you don’t hurry up .In the above example, we is the subject of the sentence, but you is the object. Other examples of pronouns replacing the object

Peter sang the song to me

Missing the train will cause us to be late.She packed them tightly in the suitcase

Reflexive pronouns – those preceded by the adverb, adjective, pronoun, or noun to which they refer, and ending in –self or –selves. Reflexive pronouns are used to refer back to the subject or clause of a sentence. The list of reflexive pronouns includes: Myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves
Reflexive pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

Count yourselves

Annie only had herself to blame.Peter and Paul had baked themselves cakes

Demonstrative pronouns – those used to point to something specific within a sentence. There are only four demonstrative pronouns – this, that, these, those – but the usage can be a bit tricky at times. This and that are singular, whereas these and those are plural. As you may have noticed, there can be some crossover with indefinite pronouns when using this and that.
Demonstrative pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification.

I prefer this

These are beautiful, but those belong to Danny

Did you see that?While it can be confusing, this, that, these and those can sometimes be used as demonstrative adjectives. The difference between the two is that a demonstrative pronoun replaces the noun and a demonstrative adjective qualifies the noun.I prefer this photo. These flowers are beautiful, but those vases belong to Danny. Did you see that rainbow?

It should be clear that this, that, these and those in the example above are not pronouns because they are being used to qualify the noun, but not replace it. A good trick for remembering the difference is that a demonstrative pronoun would still make sense if the word one or ones followed it in the sentence.I prefer this (one). These (ones) are beautiful. Did you see that (one)? Those (ones) belong to Danny.

Possessive pronouns – those designating possession or ownership. Examples include: mine, its, hers, his, yours, ours, theirs, whose. Consider the example

This cat is mine.Mine is indicating possession, that the cat belongs to me. Incidentally, this in the sentence is not a pronoun but demonstrative adjective as it qualifies the noun cat. You will find that possessive pronouns often follow phrases that contain demonstrative adjectives.Possessive pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

?Are these bananas yours

?This money is ours.Is the fault theirs or yours

Relative pronouns –those which refer to nouns mentioned previously, acting to introduce an adjective (relative) clause. They will usually appear after a noun to help clarify the sentence or give extra information. Examples include: who, which, that, whom, whose. Consider the following sentence
The man who stole the car went to jail. The relative pronoun who acts to refer back to the noun man. It acts to open a clause by identifying the man as not just any man, but the one who stole the car.Relative pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

The table, which sits in the hallway, is used for correspondence

The car that crashed into the wall was blue

This is the woman, whose key you found

Interrogative pronouns –Those which introduce a question. Examples include: who, whom, whose, what, which. We can usually identify an interrogative pronoun by the fact that they often appear at the beginning of a question
Interrogative pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

?Who will come to the party

?Which do you prefer

?What do you need

?Whose clothes are on the floor

Whom did you tell?Whom and who are often confused, and even native speakers will use them incorrectly. Who will replace the subject of a sentence, whereas whom will replace the direct or indirect object. A good tip for deciding which to use is that you can replace who in the sentence with a personal pronoun and it will still make sense. Who will come to the party? I will come to the party. The same system would not work for Whom did you tell? I did you tell

Reciprocal pronouns –Those expressing mutual actions or relationship; i.e. one another
There are just two reciprocal pronouns in English: one another and each other. They are mainly used to stop unnecessary repetition in a sentence, but also to reinforce the idea that collective and reciprocal actions are happening to more than one person or thing.

John and Mary gave each other gifts. Using each other allows us the sentence to be more efficient than: John gave Mary a gift and Mary gave a gift to John. The countries worked with one another on national security. In this example, one another works to suggest that the action of working is being reciprocated back and forth by more than one country.Reciprocal pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

The boxers punched each otherThe couple love one another deeply

Intensive pronouns – those ending in –self or –selves and that serve to emphasize their antecedents. These are almost identical to reflexive pronouns, but rather than just referring back to the subject of the sentence they work to reinforce the action. In many cases, the sentence would still make sense without the intensive pronoun
Intensive pronoun examples in the following sentences are in bold for easy identification

I will do it myself

We made this pie ourselves

A nation speaks for itself through elections .Notice how the intensive pronoun is working to emphasize the statement. The sentence would still technically be correct without the intensive pronoun, but it adds some important context to its meaning

Pronoun Rules

There are a few important rules for using pronouns. As you read through these rules and the examples in the next section, notice how the pronoun rules are followed. Soon you’ll see that pronouns are easy to work with

Subject pronouns may be used to begin sentences. For example: We did a great job.

Subject pronouns may also be used to rename the subject. For example: It was she who decided we should go to Hawaii.

Indefinite pronouns don’t have antecedents. They are capable of standing on their own. For example: No one likes the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Object pronouns are used as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions. These include: you, me, him, her, us, them, and it. For example: David talked to her about the mistake.

Possessive pronouns show ownership. They do not need apostrophes. For example: The cat washed its

Examples of Pronouns

In the following examples, the pronouns are italicized

We are going on vacation

Don’t tell me that you can’t go with us

Anybody who says it won’t be fun has no clue what they are talking about

These are terribly steep stairs

We ran into each other at the mall

I’m not sure which is worse: rain or snow

It is one of the nicest Italian restaurants in town

Richard stared at himself in the mirror

The laundry isn’t going to do itself

Someone spilled orange juice all over the countertop

Pronoun Exercises

The following exercises will help you gain greater understanding about how pronouns work. Choose the best answer to complete each sentence

This is __________ speaking

John

He

He john

Am

Greg is as smart as __________ is

I

me

she

we

The dog chewed on __________ favorite toy

it’s

it is

its’

its

It could have been __________

Jerry

anyone

better

more difficult

Terry is taller than __________ am

I

me

she

we

Answers

B. This is he speaking

C. Greg is as smart as she is

D. The dog chewed on its favorite toy

B. It could have been anyone

A. Terry is taller than I am

List of Pronouns

As you read through this list of pronouns, remember that each one of these pronouns is a word that can be used to take the place of a noun. Think about ways to use the pronouns on this list in sentences, as this will increase your understanding

I

We

Me

Us

You

She

He

Her

Him

They

Them

It

That

Which

Who

Whom

Whose

Whichever

Whoever

Whomever

This

These

That

Those

Anybody

Anyone

Anything

Each

Either

Everyone

Everybody

Everything

Nobody

Neither

No one

Nothing

Somebody

One

Someone

Something

Few

Many

Both

Several

Any

All

Some

Most

None

Myself

Yourself

Ourselves

Yourselves

Herself

Himself

Themselves

Itself

Who

What

Which

Whose

Whom

Subject Pronouns

?What is a Subject Pronoun

A subject pronoun is exactly what it sounds like: a pronoun that takes the place of a noun as the subject of a sentence. Remember, a sentence’s subject is the person or thing that performs the action of a verb. When you take an even closer look, you’ll see that a subject pronoun is used as the subject of a verb, while an object pronoun is usually used as a grammatical object.Write better and fasterGinger helps you write confidently

Subject pronouns can be singular or plural, and they can be masculine, feminine, or gender neutral. The masculine or feminine subject pronoun is used when gender is known; when referring to an inanimate object, the gender-neutral form “it” is used. The subject pronoun “it” can be used to refer to animals of unspecific gender, and it is also appropriate to use the subject pronoun “it” to describe a baby of unknown gender. “It” is also used to talk about the weather, temperature, or time

If you can find the subject of a sentence, then you can find a subject pronoun just as easily! Let’s go back to basics for a moment. Every complete sentence has a subject, a verb, and an object. The subject (or subject pronoun) is always a person, thing, place, or idea, or the plural of one of those, i.e. people, things, places, or ideas. The object or object pronoun is always on the receiving end of the action

One of the easiest ways to identify a subject or subject pronoun is to remember that it is always going to be the who or what that has a direct effect on the action that’s taking place

Subject Pronoun Examples

In the following examples, you can see exactly how this method works. The subject pronoun is in bold and is underlined, the verb is in italics, and the object is in bold

We gave them a head start in the race

You told Jerry that his score was among the best; that made him feel better

She lost weight by cutting out junk food

They drank water from a spring that ran right out of the mountainside

Subject Pronouns Exercises

__________ kicked the ball so hard that his shoe came off

She

They

He

It

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think __________ enjoy studying

He

She

You

I

The dog stole Tara’s ice cream before __________ ran away

You

I

They

It

__________ enjoys going to the gym early each morning

I

She

They

We

__________ prefer hiking to movies

She

He

We

It

__________ is raining again

It

She

He

We

__________ puts ketchup on everything she eats

He

She

We

It

You can have ice cream after __________ finish your dinner

We

You

It

She

Answers

C – He kicked the ball so hard that his shoe came off

C – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you enjoy studying

D – The dog stole Tara’s ice cream before it ran away

B – She enjoys going to the gym early each morning

C – We prefer hiking to movies

A – It is raining again

B – She puts ketchup on everything she eats

B – You can have ice cream after you finish your dinner

Object Pronouns

?What is an Object Pronoun

An object pronoun is a type of personal pronoun that is normally used as a grammatical object, either as the direct or indirect object of a verb, or as the object of a preposition. These pronouns always take the objective case, whether they are indirect object pronouns or direct object pronouns.Write better and fasterGinger helps you write confidently

The seven basic pronouns take on different forms when used as object pronouns rather than as subject pronouns

becomes Me

You becomes You (tnis rule applies for singular and plural use)

He becomes Him

She becomes Her

It becomes It

We becomes Us

They becomes Them

If you know how to find the object of a sentence, then you will find it very easy to identify an object pronoun when you see one. To find the object of a sentence, locate the nouns and verbs and mentally separate them from the rest of the words the sentence contains. Both the subject and object of the sentence will be nouns or pronouns. The subject will be the one doing the action the verb describes. The object is the noun or pronoun receiving the action. Making things even simpler, when the object is not a noun, it’s an object pronoun

Just like subject pronouns, object pronouns can be singular or plural, masculine, feminine, or gender neutral. The masculine or feminine subject pronoun is used whenever the gender is known. When referring to the weather, temperature, time, an inanimate object or a child or animal of undetermined gender, the neuter form “it” can be used

Object Pronoun Examples

In the following examples, the subject is in bold, the verb is in italics, and the object pronoun is in bold and is underlined

Bob took her to work Monday

?Will you please tell them to come in

He told you a lie about where he was Saturday

Our grandparents gave us candy and our teeth are just fine

Object Pronouns Exercises

Mary wants to talk to __________ about your homework

Him

Her

You

Them

The plate shattered when John dropped __________ on the floor

Him

Her

Them

It

Be careful; he lied to __________ before and he may do it again

Us

It

We

They

?Where are Jill and Cherie? Didn’t you invite __________

Us

Them

They

Her

The spider bit __________ on my ankle

You

Me

Her

It

I heard that Jeremy was cut from the team just because Tyler doesn’t like __________

Him

Her

It

Them

The bread is stale. You can feed __________ to the birds

Them

It

Him

Her

The movie was hilarious! We really liked __________

Him

Them

Her

It

Answers

C – Mary wants to talk to you about your homework

D – The plate shattered when John dropped it on the floor

?A – Be careful; he lied to us before and he may do it again

B – Where are Jill and Cherie? Didn’t you invite them

B – The spider bit me on my ankle

A – I heard that Jeremy was cut from the team just because Tyler doesn’t like him

B – The bread is stale. You can feed it to the birds

D – The movie was hilarious! We really liked it

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