PRONOUNS

What is a pronoun?

A pronoun usually refers to something already mentioned in a sentence or piece of text. They are used instead of nouns to prevent repetition of the noun to which they refer.

One of the most common pronouns is it and the lovely thing about it is that’s it, there’s no gender.

 

Singular

Singular

Singular

Plural

Plural

Personal Pronoun – Subject

I

you

he/she/it

we / you

they

Personal Pronoun – Object

me

you

him/her/it

us

them

Possessive Pronouns

mine

yours

his/hers/its

ours

theirs

Reflexive Pronouns

myself

yourself

himself/herself/itself

ourselves

themselves

 Example (Singular):

Without a pronoun:

The train was late, the train had been delayed. (Sounds horrid, doesn’t it?)

With a pronoun:

The train was late, it had been delayed. (Much better!)

In this example the train is singular, therefore the pronoun must be singular also – it.

Example (Plural):

Without a pronoun:

The trains were late, the trains had been delayed. (Still sounds horrid, doesn’t it?)

With a pronoun:

The trains were late, they had been delayed. (Much better!)

In this example the trains are plural, therefore the pronoun must be plural also – they.

!Note – the possessive determiner is not a pronoun.

Possessive Determiner / Adjective

my

your

his/her/its

our

their

INDEFINITE PRONOUNS

People and Things

PEOPLE-BODY

  • Somebody
  • Anybody
  • Everybody
  • Nobody

PEOPLE-ONE

  • Someone
  • Anyone
  • Everyone
  • No one

THINGS-THING

  • Something
  • Anything
  • Everything
  • Nothing

For example:-

  • Somebody stole my car!

  • Shiny thought she had joined us, but no one could see her.

  • Does anybody know who Your Teacher is?

  • Does someone have something that could help me with anything?

!Note

Even if a compound pronoun seems to refer to more than one thing, when it is the subject of the sentence the verb is treated as singular.

For example:-

  • Everybody enjoys a good meal.

  • I think everything is fine.

Handle with Care!

The following indefinite pronouns need to be handled with care. They are often used as expressions of quantity, and refer to a specific noun which should have already been mentioned.

These indefinite pronouns can refer to singular or plural nouns or verbs.

Singular – any pronouns or verbs used to refer to them should also be singular.

Plural – any pronouns or verbs used to refer to them should also be plural.

Singular or plural – any pronouns or verbs used to refer to them may be singular or plural.

For example

For example

Singular

another, each, either, little, much, neither, one, other

I offered her another. (Here you need to know what we are talking about.)

I offered her another (cup of tea).

Plural

both, few, many, others, several

Both (of the teachers) were hired.

Singular or Plural

all, any, more, most, none, some

(Depending on wether the noun is countable or uncountable)

Most (of the wine) was red.

Some (of the jewellery) is fake.

Most (of the passengers) were drunk.

Some (of the strays) were rehoused.

PERSONAL PRONOUNS

Personal Pronoun – Subject

I

you

he/she/it

we

they

Personal Pronoun – Object

me

you

him/her/it

us

them

The personal pronoun is used to refer to someone or something already mentioned (he, she, it etc.), to refer to the person speaking (I, me etc.), or to the person listening (you).

FORM

FUNCTION

First Person Pronoun

singular

I

subject

me

object

plural

we

subject

us

object

Second Person Pronoun

singular

you

subject

you

object

plural

you

subject

you

object

Third Person Pronoun

singular

he,she,it

subject

him,her,it

object

plural

they

subject

them

object

I, me, he, she, him, her, you = a person
you, we, us = people
it = thing
they, them = things or people

Here are some simple examples:-

(Imagine where the book is.)

Hubby and I went shopping.
We bought a book.
We read it, and then I leant him the book.
He read the book, and then he leant the book to her.
She read it, but they stole the book from her.
The police arrested them.
They returned the book to us.
We leant the book to you.
You read it.

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

The possessive pronoun shows who the thing being referred to belongs to or is associated with.

IYou
(singular and plural)
He/She/ItWeThey
Possessive Pronouns
mine
yours
his/hers/its
ours
theirs

 

 

In English these pronouns change form to show their function.

 

Form
First Person Pronoun
singular
mine
plural
ours
Second Person Pronoun
singular
yours
plural
yours
Third Person Pronoun
singular
his, hers, its
plural
theirs

For example:-

Q. Whose is this web site?
A. It’s mine.

Q. Does Lynne own this web site?
A. Yes, it’s hers.

Q. Does Lynne own the Internet?
A. No. It’s ours.

!Note

my, your, his/her/its, our and their are possessive determiners (sometimes called possessive adjectives).

Watch out for the following:-

Possessive PronounShort Form of ‘it is’
its

(no apostrophe)

it’s

(with apostrophe)

REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS

I

he/she/it

you

(singular)

you

(plural)

we

they

Reflexive Pronouns

myself

himself/herself/itself

yourself

yourselves

ourselves

themselves

A reflexive pronoun shows that when someone or something affected by an action is the same as the person or thing doing it. This form is used less in English than some other languages.

For example:-

  • I looked at myself in the mirror.

  • She/He drove herself/himself to the hospital.

  • My computer shut itself down.

  • To one person – The coffee machine is on the table. Please help yourself.

  • To a group of people – The coffee machine is on the table. Please help yourselves.

  • Why can’t we do it ourselves?

  • Sisters are doing it for themselves.

!Note – “by myself” is a lonely way of doing things.

 

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