MPC English & Study Skills Center

Pronouns

Pronouns are words that take the place of specific nouns.  The specific noun is known as the "antecedent." 

For example:

Teresa is a student.  She is in the library.

In this example, "Teresa" is the specific noun and is the antecedent for "she."

Pronouns either take the place of a noun (Tom = he) or make reference to a noun (Susan’s book = her book).

There are a number of different types of pronouns.

Personal Pronouns

 

Subject

Object

Possessive Pronoun

Possessive Adjective

1st person singular

I

Me

Mine

My (book)

1st person plural

We

Us

Ours

Our (new car)

2nd person singular

You

You

Yours

Your (dog)

2nd person plural

You

You

Yours

Your (cat)

3rd person singular

He

Him

His

His (magazine)

       “     “

She

Her

Hers

Her (necklace)

       “     “

It

It

Its

Its (bone)

3rd person plural

They

Them

Theirs

their

Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns can only act as subjects in clauses:

  • I saw that movie, but he fell asleep.
  • They work hard, but we like to relax.
  • It is too early to get up.

Object Pronouns

Object pronouns can act as direct  objects, indirect objects, and object of prepositions, gerunds, or infinitives.

  • Direct object:                          I saw him at the movies.
  • Indirect object:                       Jackson sent her a letter.
  • Object of preposition:           I did all of the dishes for you.
  • Object of gerund:                   Teaching him was very difficult.
  • Object of infinitive:                 Tanisha tried to warn  us to stay away from the bridge.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership.

  • That scarf is hers.
  • This car is mine.
  • She didn’t take the money because it wasn’t hers.

Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are pronouns in the sense that they refer to nouns; however, they are, in fact, adjectives and are followed by a noun.

  • Here is my key.
  • Has Todd seen his sister?
  • Please get your book out now. 

Indefinite Pronouns

Singular

Plural

Singular or Plural

Any

Everyone

Both

All

Anybody

Everything

 Few

Any

Anyone

Neither

Many

Some

Anything

None

 

 

Each

None

 

 

Either

Someone

 

 

Everybody

Something

 

 

Singular Indefinite Pronouns

Even though a singular indefinite pronoun may sound as though it refers to more than one (everyone), it is referring to “one” at a time (not someone or something specific);  it must be matched with a singular verb and a singular pronoun.

  • Everyone is waiting his or her turn.
  • Each of the boys wants to go to the game.
  • Neither wants to stay home.

Plural Indefinite Pronouns

A plural indefinite pronoun takes a plural verb because, while it’s not referring to people or things in specific, it’s referring to more than one.

  • Few were at the early meeting.
  • Many of the girls are in the bus on their way home.

Singular or Plural Indefinite Pronouns

Some indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural, depending upon the noun or pronoun that they refer to.

·        Some of the ice cream is missing.

·        All of the cookies are missing.

 Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns point out something close (this, these) or something further away (that, those) in proximity or time.  They may be used as nouns or adjective

Singular

Plural

This

These

That

Those

·        This cat looks just like those over there.

·        That assignment is due later than this one.

·        This is the correct answer.

 Reflexive or Intensive pronouns

Singular

Plural

Myself

Ourselves

Yourself

Yourselves

Herself/Himself

Themselves

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns act as direct or indirect objects.  They show that the subject is the same thing as the object.

·        Direct object:                   I saw myself in the mirror.

·        Indirect object:                 She bought herself a new jacket.

Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns emphasize a preceding noun or pronoun.

  • Mary herself saw the murder happen.
  • I saw the man himself at the scene of the crime.

 Relative pronouns

That

Which

whose

When

Who

 

Where

Whom

 

Note:  not all authorities include “when” and “where,” but they are increasingly used as relative pronouns, so they are included on this list.

A relative pronoun is used to connect an adjective clause to a main clause.  The relative pronoun should follow the word it describes (modifies).  The same pronouns can also used to introduce noun clauses.

  • The woman who is wearing a fur coat is not an environmentalist.
  • The town where I grew up is in Idaho.
  • That dog, which has been barking incessantly, is annoying the whole neighborhood.

Interrogative Pronoun

Interrogative pronouns introduce questions that ask for information rather than a “yes” or “no” response.

What

Which

whose

When

Who

why

Where

Whom

How

 

  • What is your name?
  • Why didn’t you call?
  • Where do you live?

 

Reciprocal Pronoun

Each other

One another

Reciprocal pronouns refer individually to the parts that make up a plural antecedent noun.

  • We looked at each other silently.
  • Maria and Steve sent messages to one another through a friend.
 
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