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        What are Pronouns? Meaning, Usage, Types, & Examples

        • calenderMay 03, 2024
        • calender 8 min read

        Pronouns are important for daily communication. In this article, learn everything about pronouns. From the pronoun definition to the types, we’ve explained everything with examples. 

        We’ve also given the rules for using pronouns. So without delaying further, let’s begin! 

        Let our trained editors eliminate all errors!

        What is a pronoun? 

        A pronoun is a word that is used instead of a noun. Pronouns enable us to refer to someone/something without using their name repeatedly. It is one of the important parts of speech in English

        Here is an example to understand this pronoun definition: 

        John is sleeping. He will wake up at 8 am. 

        Here, the word “he” is used to refer to John. “He” helps to communicate about “John” without unnecessarily repeating the word “John”. 

        These pronouns can be further categorized into subject and object pronouns. Let’s explore these concepts very quickly! 

        What are subject pronouns? 

        Pronouns that indicate the subject of a sentence (who is performing the action) are known as subject pronouns. I, we, you, he, she, it, they are examples of subject pronouns. 

        For example: 

        I ate a chocolate

        In this sentence,  I is the subject pronoun performing the action. 

        What are object pronouns?  

        Pronouns that are affected by the action performed in a sentence are known as object pronouns. Me, us, you, him, her, them, it are some examples of object pronouns. 

        For example: 

        We told them everything 

        In this sentence, “them” receives the action of telling by the pronoun “we”. 

        After understanding what is a pronoun, let’s understand its types! 

        Types of pronouns 

        1. Personal pronouns 

        The pronouns that refer to specific people or things are known as personal pronouns. Some examples of personal pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, they, we, and you

        Depending on the point of view (first person, second person, or third person, the forms of personal pronouns can change. Let’s see a table to understand these concepts better. 

        This table displays the types of personal pronouns.

        Now let’s understand what is a demonstrative pronoun. 

        2. Demonstrative pronouns 

        The words that are used to point out or refer to particular persons, places, things, or ideas are known as demonstrative pronouns. Some commonly used demonstrative pronouns are: that, this, these, and those

        Here are some examples of pronouns in sentences: 

        That is my book. 

        This is the correct file. 

        These apples are ripe. 

        Those pencils are not mine. 

        Let’s move on and know more about what is an indefinite pronoun! 

        3. Indefinite pronouns 

        Indefinite pronouns are words used to refer to people or objects that aren’t clearly defined or specified by name or any other feature. These vague pronouns are usually used when the nouns are unknown, or unimportant. 

        Commonly used indefinite pronouns include some, any, none, nobody, someone, anyone, no one, nothing, everyone, everybody, everything, nothing, other, others, few, all, any, each.

        Following are some pronoun examples to understand them better: 

        He saw no one in the living room. 

        I told him everything

        She was talking about other people she met. 

        4. Reciprocal pronouns 

        The pronouns which show a connection between two or more people or things are known as reciprocal pronouns. Some examples of reciprocal pronouns are each other and one another

        Browse through the following examples of reciprocal pronouns:

        We supported each other in difficult times. 

        They told one another the truth. 

        They discussed the topic with each other.

        Now, let’s see what is a reflexive pronoun! 

        5. Reflexive pronouns 

        The pronouns formed by adding “self” or “selves” to existing pronouns are known as reflexive pronouns. While “self” is added to create a singular pronoun, “selves” indicates a plural pronoun. 

        Some examples of reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself, yourself, itself, yourselves, themselves, oneself, ourselves 

        The sentences given below accurately demonstrate how to use these pronouns:

        They congratulated themselves on a job well done.

        He taught himself how to play the guitar.

        She bought herself a new dress for the party.

        After understanding reflexive pronouns, let’s explore what is an intensive pronoun! 

        6. Intensive pronouns 

        The pronouns that focus on or strongly emphasize the noun or other pronouns in the sentence are known as intensive pronouns. They are similar to reflexive pronouns. 

        Here are some pronoun examples in sentences to understand them: 

        The students themselves didn’t understand the assignment.

        The president himself will be attending the event.

        I, myself am not happy with the changes. 

        7. Interrogative pronouns 

        The pronouns that are used to ask questions are called interrogative pronouns. Some examples of interrogative pronouns are who, whom, whose, what, and which. Let’s see how to use these pronouns in sentences:

        Who is that girl? 

        Whose bag is this? 

        Which is the best design of these? 

        8. Distributive pronouns 

        The pronouns that help to separate or distribute the members of the group are known as distributive pronouns. They help to refer to individual members of a group. 

        Some examples of distributive pronouns are either, each, neither, every, any, and none.  

        Read the following sentences to understand their usage: 

        Each student in the history class received a textbook. 

        Neither of the candidates impressed the committee. 

        Every student must submit their assignment by Saturday. 

        Now, let’s move on and understand what is a possessive pronoun. 

        9. Possessive pronouns 

        The pronouns that indicate ownership or show that something belongs to someone are called possessive pronouns. Some examples of possessive pronouns are my, your, his, her, its, our, their, yours, ours, theirs, hers, mine 

        The following sentences demonstrate their usage: 

        This is my pen. 

        We went in his car. 

        I wanted to click their picture.  

        10. Relative pronouns

        Relative pronouns give more information about other nouns/pronouns in the sentence and connect parts of a sentence. They help to create complex sentences. 

        Some examples of relative pronouns are who, whom, which, whose, and that. Here are some sentences to understand relative clauses better: 

        The girl who arrived was not Mary’s real sister.  

        I know that life isn’t easy. 

        He knew whom to call. 

        After understanding what are pronouns, let’s understand the rules for using them!  These rules will help you use pronouns with other nouns, verbs, adjectives, conjunctions, and adverbs

        Essential rules while using pronouns 

        1. Pronoun-antecedent agreement: The pronoun used must have the same form as the noun it is referring to. This means that if the noun is singular, the pronoun must also be singular, and if it’s plural, the pronoun must also be plural. 

        For example: 

        They ate apples.  

        I bought a wooden box.  

        Here, “they” and “apples” are plural whereas both “I” and “box” have a singular form.  

        This rule also means that the pronoun must have the same gender form as the noun it refers to. 

        For example: 

        John told George about his painful story. 

        Rita gave a watch to her sister. 

        In the first sentence, “his” is a masculine pronoun used to describe the masculine subject “John”. In contrast, in the second sentence, “her” is a feminine pronoun used to describe the female subject “Rita”. 

        2. Understand context while using pronouns: For example, use reflexive pronouns when the subject and the object refer to the same person or thing. 

        For example: 

        She did all the work herself

        They cleaned the room themselves

        3. Use gender-neutral pronouns: If you’re unsure about gender, to ensure clarity, use gender-neutral pronouns like “they”, “them” and “their” to refer to a group of people. 

        For example: 

        They attacked the village. 

        It was their problem. 

        4. Avoid ambiguous references: Be careful not to use vague pronouns that could have multiple interpretations leading to ambiguity.

        For example: 

        John told Michael that he should now study. 

        In this sentence, it’s unclear whether John should now study or Michael. To avoid ambiguity, a better sentence is: 

        John told Michael that Michael should now study. 

        This concludes our guide to pronouns! You can create a pronouns list and jot down the pronouns for future reference. With this, you can also briefly define pronoun types and mention rules after the pronouns list. This list of pronouns will help you to communicate effectively. 

        After understanding what are pronouns, you can use them while speaking and writing. An important step you need to take after writing is editing. As experts in editing and proofreading services, we’d love to ensure help you perfect your text! 

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        Priya Linkedin

        Priya has a talent for academic research and enjoys simplifying complex topics. When she's not helping students improve their writing, she can be seen reading poetry, playing the harmonium, or learning classical dance.

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