A pronoun is any word that can be used as a replacement for a noun, phrase, or clause and refers to something or someone. They shorten and simplify our speech.
For example, instead of saying, "The young boy bounced the rubber ball," we can replace the noun boy, along with its modifying adjective (young) and definite article (the) and say "He slipped on a banana peel."
Similarly, instead of saying, "He gave a bouquet of roses to her," we can replace bouquet, along with its modifying phrase (of roses) and indefinite article (a), and say, "He gave it to her."
There are seven categories of pronouns:
- A personal pronoun is used in place of beings and objects. It denotes person, number, and (sometimes) gender. They include subjects (I, you, he, she, we, they, it); objects (me, you, him, her, us, them, and possessive pronouns (my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs).
- A reflexive pronoun is a pronoun that refers to itself. It is formed by combining a personal pronoun (my, your, him, her, them, it, our) with self or selves. The result is (myself, yourself, yourselves, himself, herself, themselves, itself, ourselves). Reflexive pronouns are used to refer to the subject (He voted for himself) or for emphasis (They are newcomers themselves).
- A demonstrative pronoun (this, that, these, those) points out something. It functions as adjective (Who was that masked man?) or by a noun (Stop that!).
- An indefinite pronoun refers to an unidentified person(s) or thing(s) (e.g Someone must pay for this.). This group of pronouns includes any, anyone, anybody, anything, all, each, every, everybody, everyone, everything, few, both, many, much, no one, nobody, none, one, other, somebody, someone, something. Ma., ny also serve as adjectives.
- An interrogative pronoun is used when asking a question (who, whom, whose, which, what). It may be used by itself (e.g., What did I hear?) or combined with the suffix -ever (e.g., Whom do you suggest?)
- A relative pronoun is a pronoun that introduces a subordinate clause (e.g., This is the cat, which caught the bird in our backyard). The relative pronouns are who, whoever, whom, whomever, whose, what, whatever, which, whichever, that.
- A reciprocal pronoun. There are two - each other and one another.
© G.A. Robinson 2002-2013