Once in a while, nouns are replaced to avoid repetition or provide a concise flow of information. This is where a pronoun comes to the limelight.
Therefore, a pronoun is a word used instead of a noun. The noun that substitutes the pronoun is known as an antecedent. Pronouns can also replace noun phrases and noun clauses. Pronouns can act as subjects, objects or complements in the sentence.
- John stayed there before but he had to move because of robbers.
(“he” is a pronoun substituting the noun “John”)
- The girl is upset because she stammered during her speech.
(“she” is a pronoun replacing the noun phrase “The girl”)
- Some policemen who were angry picked up their guns because they had low pensions.
(“they” is a pronoun replacing the noun clause “Some policemen who were angry”)
Types of Pronouns
- Personal pronouns
- Relative pronouns
- Demonstrative pronouns
- Possessive pronouns
- Reflexive pronouns
- Interrogative pronouns
- Indefinite pronouns
- Intensive pronouns
- Reciprocal pronouns
Personal pronouns portray people, places, things. They are mainly used to reduce repetition. They include I, You, He, She, It, We, They.
- Helen told Kenneth to finish the chicken because she thought he would wash the plate.
These associate one portion of the sentence to another. They comprise who, whom, which, that, whose.
- The girl whom I saw last week came to meet me this night.
(Whom relates to girl)
- A place that I would like to see one day is The London Eye.
(That relates to place)
Demonstrative pronouns draw attention to someone or something. These include this, that, these, those.
- Those are his fruits; these are your biscuits.
- This is my bag; that is your pencil.
These exhibit ownership or possession. These comprise mine, yours, hers, his, ours, theirs.
The pen is his.
Mine is to pray.
When you first hear grammatical terminology, they may appear complicated and random, but they aren’t until you come to know them. An excellent example is a phrase reflexive. “Reflexive” is connected to “reflect” in Latin; this is important to understand since a reflexive pronoun reflects on the subject of a sentence.
Reflexive pronouns end in -self or -selves, used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same (e.g. They believe in themselves). They function as either objects or indirect objects.
Examples of reflexive pronouns consist of myself, himself, herself, herself, herself, herself, and ourselves.
- Stella told herself that she wouldn’t go there again.
- The guy snapped himself out of the shock.
An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun used to ask questions. Some words, such as “who” and “whom,” only refer to persons. Others are words used to refer to things or persons. Once you’ve mastered interrogative pronouns, you’ll find that using them in a range of circumstances is a breeze.
The five interrogative pronouns include: who, what, whom, which, whose.
- Whom do you seek?
- What is he doing here?
A pronoun that refers to an undetermined or unnamed person or thing is known as an indefinite pronoun. It lacks an antecedent and is imprecise rather than specific.
Here are some examples:
- Quantifiers: some, any, enough, several, many, much.
- Universals: all, both, every, each.
- Partitives: any, anyone, anybody, either, neither, no, nobody, some, someone.
All of these above can also function as determiners.
Positive indefinite pronouns which end in -body (anyone and anyone) can be exchanged with those ending in -one.
- All of you can go out now.
- Everyone was surprised at her friendly gestures.
Intensive pronouns refer back to the subject of a sentence in order to emphasize it; this is what differentiates them from relative pronouns. They follow the noun or pronoun they refer to, but not all the time. They consist of himself, myself, herself, themselves, yourself.
- The maths teacher herself will solve that question.
- I will go there myself.
A reciprocal pronoun functions when two or more individuals are doing or have done something, with both reaping the advantages or repercussions of that activity simultaneously. These pronouns work whenever something is done or given in exchange. They show mutual relationships such as each other and one another.
- Daniel and Dave helped each other.
- They encouraged one another.
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What is a Pronoun?