Pronouns

Introduction

A pronoun is a word that can take the place of a noun, whether it is a noun word, phrase, or clause.
Pronouns have four attributes:

  • Number (singular, plural)
  • Person (first, second, third)
  • Gender (male, female, neuter)
  • Case (subjective [aka nominative], objective)

There are many types of pronouns. These types need not be memorized now.  Just be aware that there are many types.  Regardless of type, the pronoun will always substitute for (or stand for) a noun.

Type Examples
Personal Pronouns —-
Subject Pronouns I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they
Object Pronouns me, you, him/her/it, us, you, them
Possessive Pronouns mine, yours, his/hers/—, ours, yours, theirs
Possessive Adjectives my, your, his/her/its, our, your, their
Reflexive Pronouns myself, yourself, himself/herself/itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves  (Example:  I hurt myself.)
Intensive/Emphatic Pronouns myself, yourself, himself/herself/itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves  (Example:  I myself did it.  I spoke to Joe himself.)
Demonstrative Pronouns  this, that, these, those
Demonstrative Adjectives  this, that, these, those
Interrogative Pronouns  who, whose, whom, which, what; whoever, whomever, whichever, whatever
Interrogative Adjectives  which, what, whose
Indefinite Pronouns  all, any, either, each, both, some, several, few, none, one, no one, nobody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, everyone, everybody
Reciprocal Pronouns  each other (two people), one another (three or more people)
Relative Pronouns  who, whom, whose, which, that

The “Singular They”

To be gender-neutral, we often use “they” to refer to singular nouns.  While not exactly grammatically correct, this usage has become acceptable. This also applies to their, them, themselves.

  • Everyone should ensure that they take their coat with them.
  • Each student is responsible for watching our for themselves.

Self-Assessment

Fill in the blanks or find the errors in the following sentences:

  1. The committee cast its vote/their votes. (View committee as many individuals.)

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