What Is A Pronoun
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun, often to avoid the need to repeat the same noun over and over. Like nouns, pronouns can refer to people, things, concepts, and places. Most sentences contain at least one noun or pronoun.
what is a pronoun
Which of them do you prefer? Help yourself to whichever you like.Table of contentsHow are pronouns used in sentences?
Pronouns vs. nouns
Pronouns vs. determiners
Personal pronouns (first-, second-, and third-person)
Dummy pronouns (expletives)
Other interesting language articles
Frequently asked questions
Can you promise her this?NoteA noun phrase is a noun or pronoun in combination with any determiners applied to it. Despite the name, noun phrases can just as well consist of pronouns as of nouns.
While pronouns constitute a relatively small class of words that tends not to change over time, nouns are a much broader class that is constantly expanding. Like pronouns, nouns refer to things, people, places, and concepts, but they do so with much greater specificity.
The grammatical distinction between the two is that pronouns stand on their own as the subject or object of a verb, whereas determiners are only used to modify nouns, not acting as subjects or objects in their own right.
Few are able to excel in such a competitive field.Reciprocal pronounsReciprocal pronouns are used to indicate a reciprocal relationship between two people or things, where the members of a group each perform the same action relative to the other(s). The English reciprocal pronouns are each other and one another.
The two words used as dummy pronouns in English are it and there. Note that both words can also fulfill other grammatical roles. Dummy pronouns are commonly used to talk about the weather, to emphasize certain elements in a sentence, or to introduce the existence of something.
The most common pronouns are the personal pronouns, which refer to the person or people speaking or writing (first person), the person or people being spoken to (second person), or other people or things (third person). Like nouns, personal pronouns can function as either the subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition: "She likes him, but he loves her." Most of the personal pronouns have different subject and object forms:
Relative pronouns introduce a subordinate clause, a part of a sentence that includes a subject and verb but does not form a sentence by itself. The main relative pronouns are that, which, who, whom, what, and whose.
Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of a sentence or clause and are formed by adding -self or -selves to a personal pronoun or possessive adjective, as in myself, herself, ourselves, and itself.
The words it and there can also be used like pronouns when the rules of grammar require a subject but no noun is actually being referred to. Both are usually used at the beginning of a sentence or clause, as in "It was almost noon" and "There is some cake left." These are sometimes referred to as expletives.
A pronoun is a word that can replace a noun in a sentence. The noun that is replaced by a pronoun is called an antecedent. For example, in the sentence I love my dog because he is a good boy, the word he is a pronoun that replaces the noun dog.
There are many different types of pronouns that we use in writing and speech. For now, we will briefly look at each of these different types. If you want to explore each one in more detail, we have provided an extensive guide to each type of pronoun in the links below:
When using a pronoun, it must agree in number with its antecedent. This means that a singular noun can only be replaced by a singular pronoun, and a plural noun can only be replaced by a plural pronoun. Take a look at the following two examples:
Of these two sentences, only the first one makes sense. We are only referring to a single basketball, so we need to use a singular pronoun like it and not a plural pronoun like they. When you are unsure about what kind of pronoun you need, think about what noun is being replaced and use a pronoun that is of the same number.
Firstly, the pronouns everyone, everybody, everything, and everywhere are treated as singular pronouns even though they often refer to multiple people and things. For example, we would say Everybody was hiding rather than Everybody were hiding.
Secondly, some pronouns can be used as either singular or plural. When we encounter these pronouns in sentences, we usually rely on context to help us determine if they are singular or plural. For example,
As mentioned, pronouns are usually used to replace nouns, however they can also stand in for certain adverbs, adjectives, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Pronouns can replace both proper and common nouns. Certain pronouns have specific rules about when they can be used, such as how it should never be used to refer to a human being. We explain all of the different types and their associated rules below.
There are also circumstances where you might not introduce the noun first and instead reveal it after using only pronouns to refer to your subject. You might do this for dramatic or poetic effect in a piece of creative writing.
Relative pronouns are another class of pronouns. They connect relative clauses to independent clauses. Often, they introduce additional information about something mentioned in the sentence. Relative pronouns include these words:
That, this, these, and those are demonstrative pronouns. They take the place of a noun or noun phrase that has already been mentioned or is clear through context, either in written or verbal communication.
That is used for singular items that are far away. Those is used for multiple items that are far away. Again, the distance can be physical or metaphorical. Here are a few examples of these pronouns in action:
See how the second one emphasizes that the builder had no outside help? Intensive pronouns can help you express pride, shock, disbelief, credulousness (or incredulousness), or any other strong emotion. Here are a few more examples:
It is important to remember that by consistently asking people for their pronouns, you can help create a more normalized and safe way for others to share their pronouns, which they may not have been able to do before.
However, there are multiple reasons why someone may not want to share their pronouns in a group setting. If someone does not share their pronouns, feel free to use their name as a placeholder or ask in a more private setting.
When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric (often all of the above). All major professional American psychological and psychiatric associations recognize that inclusive language usage for LGBTQ+ youth and adults drastically decreases experiences of depression, social anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other negative mental health factors.
He goes on to describe how relics of these sex-neutral terms survive in some British dialects of Modern English, and sometimes a pronoun of one gender might be applied to a person or animal of the opposite gender.
Pronouns can do all of the things that nouns can do. They can be subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, object of the preposition, and more. Hey, the word pronoun even has the word noun in it!
If you want more in-depth information, keep reading to learn about the different types of pronouns, but don't get bogged down. Just knowing what we've covered so far might be all that you need right now.
For each of these pronouns, we can tell the...Person (Who is speaking?)
Number (Is the pronoun singular or plural?)
Gender (Is the pronoun masculine, feminine, or neuter?)
For instance, she is third person (the person being spoken about), singular, feminine while we is first person (the people speaking), plural, neuter.
In restrictive relative clauses, when not preceded by a preposition, both "who(m)" and "which" can be replaced by "that", or (if not the subject of the clause) by zero. In relative clauses, "who" (like other relative pronouns) takes the number (singular or plural) of its antecedent. "Who" also takes the person (first, second or third) of its antecedent:
In the types of English in which "whom" is used (which are generally the more formal varieties, as described in the section above), the general grammatical rule is that "who" is the subjective (nominative) form, analogous to the personal pronouns "I", "he", "she", "we", "they", while "whom" is the objective (oblique) form, analogous to "me", "him", "her", "us" and "them". Thus, "who" is used as a verb subject, while "whom" is used as an indirect or direct object of a verb or as the object (complement) of a preposition. 041b061a72