Types of Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. Pronouns are used to avoid repeating the same nouns over and over again. For example, "Jeremy ran so fast, you'd think his life was on the line." The pronoun "his" saved us from repeating the name Jeremy again.

Types of Pronouns Types of Pronouns

Common pronouns include I, me, mine, she, he, it, we, and us. In truth, there are many different types of pronouns, each serving a different purpose.

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are used as a substitute for a person's name. There are two kinds: subjective and objective pronouns. That is, they either act as the subject of the sentence or the object of the sentence.

As the subject of a sentence, they are:

  • I
  • you
  • he
  • she
  • it
  • we
  • they

For example:

  • They went to the store.
  • I don't want to leave.
  • He runs a great shop in town.
  • You can't leave, either.

As the object of the sentence, they are:

  • me
  • you
  • her
  • him
  • it
  • us
  • them

For example:

  • Please don't sit beside me.
  • Go talk to her.
  • Mary put the gift under it.
  • Don't look at them.

For more, check out Subject Versus Object Pronouns.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns show ownership or possession of a noun. They are:

  • my
  • our
  • your
  • his
  • her
  • its (note there is no apostrophe)
  • their

For example:

  • Is that my book?
  • No, that's his book.
  • That's its shelf.
  • I'd like to see their bookshelves.

However, there are also independent possessive pronouns. These pronouns refer to a previously named or understood noun. They stand alone and aren't followed by any other noun. They are:

  • mine
  • ours
  • yours
  • his
  • hers
  • its
  • theirs

For example:

  • That's mine.
  • Wrong. It's ours.
  • So, I suppose those clothes are yours?
  • No, it's theirs.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns don't point to particular nouns. We use them when an object doesn't need to be specifically identified. As such, it can remain indefinite. They include:

  • few
  • everyone
  • all
  • some
  • anything
  • nobody

For example:

  • Most wealth is held by a select few.
  • Everyone is here already.
  • I don't have any paper napkins. Can you bring some?
  • He's nobody.

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used to connect a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun. We often see them when we need to add more information. They are:

  • who
  • whom
  • which
  • whoever
  • whomever
  • whichever
  • that

For example:

  • The driver who ran the stop sign was careless.
  • I don't know which pair of shoes you want.
  • Take whichever ones you want.
  • No, not that one.

Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns emphasize, or intensify, nouns and pronouns. Typically, we find them right after the noun they're intensifying. These pronouns typically end in -self or -selves. They are:

  • myself
  • himself
  • herself
  • themselves
  • itself
  • yourself
  • yourselves
  • ourselves

For example:

  • I myself like to travel.
  • He himself is his worst critic.
  • She approved the marriage herself.
  • We went to hear W.B. Yeats himself speak.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns take the place of a noun that's already been mentioned. They can be singular or plural. There are five of them. They include:

  • these
  • those
  • this
  • that
  • such

For example:

  • These are ugly.
  • Those are lovely.
  • Don't drink this.
  • Such was his understanding.

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns do just what they say. They work in sentences that are posing a question. They are:

  • who
  • whom
  • which
  • what
  • whoever
  • whomever
  • whichever
  • whatever

For example:

  • Who is going to arrive first?
  • What are you bringing to the party?
  • Which of these do you like better?
  • Whatever do you mean?

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are similar to intensive pronouns. The difference between the two is that intensive pronouns aren't essential to a sentence's meaning. Meanwhile, reflexive pronouns are. Also, they're used when the subject and the object of a sentence refer to the same person or thing. These pronouns end in -self or -selves. They are:

  • myself
  • yourself
  • himself
  • herself
  • itself
  • ourselves
  • yourselves
  • themselves

For example:

  • I told myself not to spend all my money on new shoes.
  • You're going to have to drive yourself to the restaurant today.
  • We gave ourselves plenty of extra time.
  • They bought themselves a new car.

A Pronoun-Testing Paragraph

See if you can locate all the pronouns in this paragraph:

No matter what your teachers may have taught you about pronouns, they don't always have it right. If your teachers ever warned you about the evils of gambling, however, they were right about that. You don't want someone breaking your kneecaps with his crowbar; it will hurt, the police might arrest you, and you may never forgive yourself.

Answers:

(Pronouns in bold)

No matter what your teachers may have taught you about pronouns, they don't always have it right. If your teachers ever warned you about the evils of gambling, however, they were right about that. You don't want someone breaking your kneecaps with his crowbar; it will hurt, the police might arrest you, and you may never forgive yourself.

Pronoun Proficiency

Who knew there were so many hidden depths to "he," "she," "it," "they" and other pronouns? Interesting, right? Pronouns are multi-taskers, working busily to point us in different directions, freeing us from the catastrophe of repeated nouns.

Allow your pronoun knowledge to continue unfolding with these free pronoun worksheets. Then, see how you do in this handy pronoun quiz!

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