What is a Pronoun?

A pronoun is used instead of a noun or a noun phrase in a sentence. A pronoun may take the place of the name of a person, place or thing.

The word pronoun (pro-noun) is made up of two parts, pro and noun. The part of the word “pro” helps us understand that a pronoun stands for a noun, just as a pro-labor politician stands for labor.

Holding her dog, Maria ran up the stairs. She went straight to the counter and bought a bone.

“She” is a pronoun. In this example, it replaces (stands in for) the noun “Maria” which is the antecedent in the previous sentence. The antecedent is not the dog, or the pronoun would be “it”. Besides the dog couldn’t buy a bone.

Types of Pronoun?

Personal Pronouns replace or designate a person who speaks, a person to talk to and a person or thing we are talking about. These are; I, you, he, she, us, you, they, me, them, your, him, their.

  • I live in New York.
  • Mary, do you like playing tennis? (NOTE: you as singular)
  • He doesn’t want to come this evening.
  • She works in London.

Possessive Pronouns replace a common noun preceded by a possessive determinant: mine, yours, hers, yours, hers, ours, yours, theirs, mine, mine, yours, yours, his, his, ours, etc.

  • Theirs will be green.
  • The red house is mine.
  • The green car is yours.
  • I’m sorry, that’s his.
  • Here, I give you my eraser because I lost yours.

Demonstrative Pronouns “that” and “those” refer to things that are far from the speaker. The pronouns “this” and “these” refer to something near. They replace a common noun preceded by a demonstrative determinant.

  • Therefore the word this (singular) indicates closeness. It could be an adjective: This soup is good. Or a pronoun: I like this.
  • The word that (singular) indicates distance. It can be an adjective: That car is painted purple. Or a pronoun: I don’t like that.
  • The word these (plural) indicates closeness. It could be an adjective: These books are interesting. Or a pronoun: I like these.
  • The word those (plural) indicates distance. It could be an adjective: Those flowers over there are tulips. Or a pronoun: I don’t like those.

Indefinite Pronouns are used for non-specific things. This is the largest group of pronouns. All, some, any, several, anyone, nobody, each, both, few, either, none, one and no one is the most common.

  • Someone took my pen.
  • Neither Jane nor the girls feel that she had been treated fairly.
  • Every one of the adopted puppies thrives in its new home.

Relative Pronouns introduce a relative subordinate clause. (which, that, who [including whom and whose] and where) Are used to add more information about a noun.

  • I remember the promise you made to me.
  • “That” is a relative pronoun.
  • It replaces the thing name “promise” in the relative subordinate “you made me”.

Interrogative Pronouns are all interrogative pronouns, which are used in questions, eg, who, what, what, which, which, which, which, which, to whom, etc.? They refer to nouns that are understood but not present in the sentence.

  • Who told you to do that?
  • Which one do you want?
  • Where will you go?
  • How will they do it?

These pronouns are called possessive because they refer to possession; they tell us to whom something belongs, or who the owner of something is.

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