Pronoun: Definition & Types

Pronouns are used to denote a noun that was used earlier in a sentence or in a paragraph. Pronouns are used to avoid repetition of a specific personality, place or any other noun.

Example

Michael is a good boy. He gets up early in the morning. (Here, you don’t have to mention ‘Michael’ again)

The coach selected several key points. He wanted the team to memorize them. (‘He’ replaces ‘the coach’; ‘them’ replaces ‘several key points’)

There are specific words that are used as pronouns in order to replace nouns and the words that are being replaced are called antecedents. The pronoun must be selected according to the antecedent’s nature and gender.

Types of Pronoun:

  • Subject Pronouns
  • Object Pronouns
  • Possessive Pronouns
  • Reflexive Pronouns
  • Intensive Pronouns
  • Demonstrative Pronouns
  • Interrogative Pronouns

 

Subject Pronouns:

The words that are included to replace the subject or the verb in a sentence are known as subject pronouns. It is used to replace nouns and verbs that are used in the previous sentence.

They are the most common and most used pronouns in English.

They are: I, we, you, they, he, she, it.

You surely know these pronouns but sometimes people forget that these are what we mean when we say subject pronouns.

Example:

Mike can’t attend the party. He has gone to his grandparents.

Marta is a good storyteller. She told a ghost story that scared everyone.

Instead of saying: Sara goes to school on foot because Sara likes to walk.

We say: Sara goes to school on foot because she likes to walk.

 

Object Pronouns:

Object pronouns function in the replacement of an object or an indirect object of a sentence. It replaces the antecedent object from a sentence in order to avoid repetition. Object pronouns are used with prepositions as well.

They are: me, us, you, them, her, him, it.

Example:

Tell her that you’ll take the job.

I have a gift for your boss. Give it to your boss. (Here, ‘it’ works as an object)

My father gave me a present and I want you to see it.

I love her.

I asked him about the job offer.

Our friends gave us cards and we thanked them.

She took it.

 

Possessive Pronouns:

Pronouns that are used to replace nouns used with possessive adjectives are called Possessive pronouns. Words such as my, her, his, mine, hers, etc. are known as possessive pronouns.

My becomes: mine.

Your becomes: yours.

His becomes: his. It stays the same.

Her becomes: hers.

Our becomes: ours.

Example:

Their vacation will start next week. Ours is tomorrow. (Here, ‘ours’ refers to ‘our vacation’)

Those four suitcases are ours.

Instead of saying: It him my book.

We say: It is mine.

Instead of saying: look at her dress.

We say: look at hers.

 

Reflexive Pronouns:

These pronouns are used to relate a sentence to the subject that was mentioned earlier in a sentence or a paragraph. Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject mentioned earlier performs its action by itself.

For further explanation, check this example:

This lady buys breakfast for herself. The reflexive pronoun in this case is herself and it refers to the lady. So whenever the action is made by subject to the subject we express the object using reflexive pronoun.

They are : myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves

Example:

I told myself that I was fine.

We told ourselves that we were fine.

You told yourself that you were fine.

They told themselves that they were fine.

She told herself that she was fine.

He told himself that he was fine

It stole milk for itself.

 

Note: Sometimes, we use reflexive pronouns to emphasize an information or stress it.

Example:

She, herself, stole my ring.

I, myself, will buy a car.

 

Intensive Pronouns:

Pronouns that are used to prominent a sentence or for making a sentence vital are known as intensive pronouns. They are mentioned directly after the subject.

They are : myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves

Example:

I myself saw the missing boat into the harbor.

We intend to do all the work ourselves.

 

Relative Pronouns:

Relative pronouns are used to highlight the relative clause. These pronouns help in identifying the subject or the moral of the sentence. They highlight extra specifications about the subject or the object mentioned in a sentence.

They are: whom, whomever, who, whoever, when, where, that, which, and whose.

Note : Sometimes – which, what, and where can be served as relative pronouns.

Example:

Our school, which was founded in 1995, is being renovated.

 

Demonstrative Pronouns:

Demonstrative pronouns are used to highlight or specify the level of closeness or distance from a person. Words such as this, these, that, and those are denoted as demonstrative pronouns and also function as demonstrative adjectives if they are being modified as a noun. Their only function is to replace the nouns or the phrases that can be exchanged from noun phrases.

They are: this-that and these- those.

This is used for the near singular noun whereas that is used for the far singular noun.

Example

This is my book.

Where is that book?

 

As for these and those, they are for the plural nouns: these is used for the near plural nouns and those is used for the far plural nouns.

Example

I love these books.

Please handle me those books.

 

Interrogative Pronouns:

Being an interrogative term by nature it can be easily identified that these words are used to produce questions. Words such as what, whom, whose, which and how are considered as interrogative pronouns. These words are used to relate any question to any animal or person.

They are : What, Which, Who, Whose, Whom, how.

Example:

Which is your favorite movie?

Who works for you?

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