The Pronoun

The Pronoun

The Pronoun

A pronoun is a word used in place of one or more nouns or pronouns.

The word that a pronoun stands for is called the antecedent of the pronoun.

  • The students complained to the principal about the dress code. They said he had not consulted them about it. [The Noun student is the antecedent of the pronouns they and them; the noun principal is the antecedent of the pronoun he; and the compound noun dress code is the antecedent of the pronoun it]

A pronoun may also take the place of another pronoun or a verbal.

  • One of the film projectors is broken. It is being repaired. [The pronoun it takes the place of the pronoun one.] 
  • Jay enjoys hiking and camping; in fact, they are his two favorite pastimes, [The pronoun they takes the place of the gerunds hiking and camping.]

Personal Pronouns

A personal pronoun refers to the person speaking (first person), the person spoken to (second person), or the person or thing spoken about (third person).

First person I, me, my, mine we, us, our, ours
Second person you, your, yours you, your, yours
Third person he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its they, them, their, theirs

  • If I give you my address, will you write to me
  • We told them they could go with us.
Some of the personal pronoun forms — my, your, his, her, its, our, their—are used before nouns in the same way that adjectives are used. In this blog these words are called possessive pronouns. However, your teacher may prefer to have you call them possessive adjectives.

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

A reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of a sentence, directing the action of the verb back to the subject. An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent, a noun or another pronoun.

First person myself ourselves
Second person yourself yourselves
Third person himself, herself, itself themselves

  • Mary excused herself from the table. [reflexive]
  • Joseph Vasquez himself wrote the script. [intensive]

Demonstrative Pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun or another pronoun.

this that these those

  • These are the pictures from our vacation. 
  • Is this the one you want?

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun introduces a question.

who whom which what whose

  • What is the capital of the Hawaiian Islands? 
  • Whose turn is it?

Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to a person, place, thing, or idea that may or may not be specifically named.

all both few nobody several another each many none some any either more no one somebody anybody everybody most nothing someone anyone everyone much one something anything everything neither other such

  • All of the members voted. [antecedent = member]
  • Did everyone favor weekly meetings? [no antecedent]

Many indefinite pronouns can also be used as adjectives. 

  • Both of the stereos are on sale. [pronoun]
  • Both stereos are on sale. [adjective]

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