A pronoun, essentially, is a word that replaces a noun so that you don't have to keep using the noun itself so much; some examples of pronouns include I, me, mine, myself, she, her, hers, herself, we, us, ours and ourselves. You may have noticed that they come in sets of four, all referring to the same person, group or thing. He, him, his and himself, for example, all refer to a male person or something belonging to him; they, them, theirs and themselves all refer to a group or something belonging to a group, and so on. The truth is that there are about four and a half different types of pronouns, each serving a different purpose in a sentence. Let's go ahead and dispose of the half-pronoun now so we can deal with the others.
Pronominal possessive adjectives include the following: my, your, our, their, his, her and its. They are sort of pronouns in that they refer to an understood noun, showing possession by that noun of something. They are technically adjectives, though, because they modify a noun that follows them.
In all of these examples, there is a noun (money, race horse, jockey) that has not been replaced with a pronoun. Instead, an adjective is there to show whose money, horse and jockey we’re talking about. Possessive pronouns, on the other hand – mine, yours, ours, theirs, his, hers, its – are truly pronouns because they refer to a previously named or understood noun. They stand alone, not followed by any other noun. For comparison's sake, look at this sentence:
There are two types of pronouns here: subject (you/I) and possessive (mine). There's also a possessive adjective (your). We'll deal with the subject pronouns momentarily, but for now, just look at the others. Your is followed by the noun, vices, so although we know that your refers to you, it is not the noun or the noun substitute (pronoun). Vices is the noun. In the second half of the sentence, however, the noun and the possessive adjective have both been replaced with one word – the pronoun, mine. Because it stands in the place of the noun, mine is a true pronoun whereas your is an adjective that must be followed by a noun.
Subject pronouns are often (but not always) found at the beginning of a sentence. More precisely, the subject of a sentence is the person or thing that lives out the verb.
By contrast, objects and object pronouns indicate the recipient of an action or motion. They come after verbs and prepositions (to, with, for, at, on, beside, under, around, etc.).
There is often confusion over which pronouns you should use when you are one half of a dual subject or object. For example, should you say, "Me and him had a fight," or, "He and I had a fight?" Should you say, "The police arrested me and him," or, "The police arrested he and I?" Some people will tell you that you should always put the other person first and refer to yourself as "I" because it's more proper, but those people are wrong. You can put the other person first out of politeness, but you should always use the correct pronouns (subject or object) for the sentence. A good test to decide which one you need is to try the sentence with one pronoun at a time. Would you say, "Me had a fight?" Of course not. You'd say, "I had a fight." What about, "Him had a fight?" No, you'd say, "He had a fight." So when you put the two subjects together, you get, "He and I had a fight." The same rule applies to the other example. You wouldn't say, "The police arrested he," or, "The police arrested I." You would use "him" and "me" So the correct sentence is, "The police arrested him and me."
There is one more type of pronoun, and that is the reflexive pronoun. These are the ones that end in “-self” or "-selves." They are object pronouns that we use when the subject and the object are the same noun.
We also use them to emphasize the subject.
Now see if you can find all the pronouns and possessive adjectives in this paragraph:
No matter what your teachers may have taught you about pronouns, the I's don't always have it. If your teachers ever warned you about the evils of gambling, however, they were right about that. You don't want a bookie breaking your kneecaps with his crowbar; it will hurt, the police might arrest you, and you may never forgive yourself.