What is a Pronoun?
To go straight to pronouns, click here for the "big pronoun list".
Pronouns are the stunt doubles of the English language. They keep communication going with or without the nouns. Pronouns come in to keep nouns from getting repetitive or when nouns are not clearly known. They do more work than you think, so read on to learn about them.
Subject and object pronouns are used in everyday language. However, it can be tricky to remember which is which. The subject always takes action. The object is part of the activity, but it does not do any acting. Here is an example:
Shelby likes talking to Marvin.
Shelby is the subject; she is liking and talking. Marvin is the object; all the liking and talking is done to Marvin but not by Marvin.
Subject and object pronouns function in the same way.
Subject pronouns include I, you, he, she, it, they, we.
Object pronouns include me, you, him, her, it, us, them. See the following examples:
I might see you later.
You have to come now.
She lives in Nebraska.
He makes me angry
It just might work.
They caught the last train.
We cant see the end.
Sarah hit me on the arm.
I need to tell you something.
Larry took him aside.
The message wasnt for her.
Take it to the store.
Summer is fun for us.
Margaret took them downstairs.
Possessive pronouns show who owns something described in a sentence. They include mine, his, hers, its, ours, yours, their, and theirs. Possessive adjectives are similar to possessive pronouns. However, the possessive adjective comes before the object of the sentence; the possessive pronoun is the object of the sentence. See the difference here:
That is my dog. (possessive adjective, before the object dog)
The dog is mine. (possessive pronoun, which is the object)
Intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns look the same. However, they act differently in a sentence. Intensive pronouns put an emphasis on other pronouns or nouns. Reflexive pronouns rename the subject in a sentence. Look at the following examples:
Intensive pronoun She herself will go to the bank. (herself emphasizes the pronoun she)
Reflexive pronoun She cut herself on the arm. (herself renames the pronoun she)
Intensive and reflexive pronouns include:
myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
Demonstrative pronouns refer to things in relation to distance.
This and these refer to things that are close by. That and those refer to things farther away.
This is your shirt.
That is my house on the corner.
These good friends are sitting next to me.
Those roads in the next town are bumpy.
Indefinite pronouns replace nouns that are not specified. They include the following: all, another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, neither, nobody, none, no one, nothing, one, several, some, somebody, someone, and something. Read the example sentences for a better understanding.
We gave everything to the homeless shelter
All were sad to see the children go.
Give a present to each as they come in.
Interrogative pronouns are used to ask a question. They include who, whom, what, which, whose, whoever, whomever, whatever, and whichever. Consider the example sentences below:
Which of these do you like best?
Who was just in this room?
Whatever happens next, I am prepared.
Relative pronouns connect (relate) noun or pronoun clauses with other parts of a sentence. They include who, whom, what, which, whose, whoever, whomever, whatever, whichever, and that. See how these are used in the sentences below.
The paper that she just wrote is due tomorrow.
Learning is easier for people who have a good teacher.
Whoever leaves the room needs to turn off the light.
Pronouns do a lot in the English language, don't they? They are the no-name workhorses, jumping in for the superstar nouns when they get exhausted. Hey, someone's got to do something about the work nobody wants to do!
List of Prounouns