Friday, July 23, 2010


Pronouns are words that substitute for nouns.
Every pronoun must have a clear antecedent (the word for which the pronoun stands).

A. Personal Pronouns:

subjective objective possessive subjective objective possessive
1st person I me my, mine we us our, ours
2nd person you you your, yours you you your, yours
3rd person he
it him
it his
her, hers
its they
them their, theirs

Personal pronouns have the following characteristics:

1. three persons (points of view)
1st person - the one(s) speaking (I me my mine we us our ours)
2nd person - the one(s) spoken to (you your yours)
3rd person - the one(s) spoken about (he him his she her hers it its they their theirs)

2. three genders
feminine (she her hers)
masculine (he him his)
neuter (it its they them their theirs)

3. two numbers
singular (I me my mine you your yours he him his she her hers it its)
plural (we us our ours you your yours they them their theirs)

4. three cases
subjective (I you he she it we they)
possessive (my mine your yours his her hers our ours their theirs)
objective (me you him her it us them)
Examples - subjective case

Examples - possessive case

Examples - objective case

NOTE: Because of pronoun case, the pronoun's form changes with its function in the sentence. Follow this link to pronoun case for more information.

. Demonstrative Pronouns:

Demonstrative pronouns can also be used as determiners.


Hand me that hammer. (that describes the noun hammer)

Demonstrative pronouns can also be used as qualifiers:


She wanted that much money? (that describes the adjective much)

C. Reflexive / Intensive Pronouns : the "self" pronouns

These pronouns can be used only to reflect or intensify a word already there in the sentence.

Reflexive / intensive pronouns CANNOT REPLACE personal pronouns.


I saw myself in the mirror. (Myself is a reflexive pronoun, reflecting the pronoun I.)

I’ll do it myself. (Myself is an intensive pronoun, intensifying the pronoun I.)

Note: The following words are substandard and should not be used:

theirselves theirself hisself ourself

D. Indefinite Pronouns:


one someone anyone no one everyone
each somebody anybody nobody everybody
(n)either something anything nothing everything


Somebody is coming to dinner.
Neither of us believes a word Harry says.


Both are expected at the airport at the same time.
Several have suggested canceling the meeting.
Singular with non-countables / Plural with countables:


Some of the dirt has become a permanent part of the rug.
Some of the trees have been weakened by the storm.
Indefinite pronouns use apostrophes to indicate possessive case.

The accident is nobody’s fault.
How will the roadwork affect one's daily commute?
Some indefinite pronouns may also be used as determiners.
one, each, either, neither, some, any, one, all, both, few, several, many, most
Note the differences:

Each person has a chance.

(Each is a determiner describing person.)

Each has a chance.

(Each is an indefinite pronoun replacing a noun.)

Both lawyers pled their cases well.

(Both is a determiner describing lawyers.)

Both were in the room.

(Both is an indefinite pronoun replacing a noun.)
E. Interrogative Pronouns:

Interrogative pronouns produce information questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer.

What do you want?

Who is there?
F. Relative Pronouns:

Relative pronouns introduce relative (adjectival) clauses.

Note: Use who, whom, and whose to refer to people.
Use that and which to refer to things.