What is a pronoun?
Examples: he, she, it, they, someone, who
Pronouns can do all of the things that nouns can do. They can be subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, object of the prepositions, and more.
Heck, the word pronoun even has the word noun in it!
Let's look at a few examples.
Do you see how the pronoun he took the place of the noun Erik Weihenmayer? We can also put the noun and pronoun in the same sentence.
If we didn't have pronouns, we would have to write that sentence like this.
That doesn't sound good! Thank goodness for pronouns!
If we didn't have them, we would have to keep saying Erik Weihenmayer every time that we wanted to refer to him. (Look! I just used the pronoun him to refer to Erik Weihenmayer!)
So, what is a pronoun? Close your eyes and see if you can remember the definition!
What's missing from the following example?
He said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it."
You should be asking yourself WHO is HE? You don't know because I have not given you the antecedent.
An antecedent is the noun that a pronoun is replacing or referring to.Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. He said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it."
Now you should know whom I am talking about because I have provided the antecedent for he, Thomas Jefferson.
Do you want to hear something strange? Not all pronouns have antecedents! Sometimes we don't know whom exactly we are talking about.
Someone broke my vase!
You might be able to use that to your advantage.
Mom, someone broke your vase.
It certainly wasn't YOU, right?
Knowing the above information and looking at this list of pronouns should be enough for you to answer that burning question, "What is a pronoun?"
If you want more in-depth information, keep reading to learn about the different types of pronouns, but don't get bogged down. Just knowing what we've covered so far might be all that you need right now.
Got it? Good.
There are many different types of pronouns. Below you will find a short description and a few examples of each. For more examples, see the list of pronouns.
Here are the personal pronouns.
I, me, we, us, you, she, her, he, him, it, they, them
For each of these pronouns, we can tell the...
For instance, she is third person (the person being spoken about), singular, feminine while we is first person (the people speaking), plural, neuter.
This is the cookie that I want to eat.
That refers to the noun cookie, and it introduces the relative clause that I want to eat.
There are only four demonstrative pronouns!
this, that, these, those
We use these to point out particular people or things.
Sometimes, those words are used before nouns. In those cases, they are adjectives, not pronouns. (Remember, adjectives describe nouns.)
Bring me that book. (adjective)
Bring me that. (pronoun)
The prefix in- means not. Indefinite pronouns are not definite. We don't know whom or what these refer to!
anyone, something, all, most, some
Someone yelled my name. (Who? We don't know.)
Everyone looked at me. (Who exactly? We don't know.)
When indefinite pronouns are used before nouns, they are actually acting as adjectives, not pronouns.
Both people smiled at me. (adjective)
Both smiled at me. (pronoun)
These two types of pronouns end in -self or -selves.
himself, herself, myself, itself
Those words have different names depending on how they are being used.
A reflexive pronoun is used to refer to the subject of the sentence.
I will go to the school myself. (reflexive)
An intensive pronoun is used to emphasize another noun.
He himself visited the school. (intensive)
These are pronouns that are found in questions. Another name for a question is an interrogative sentence. Interrogative pronouns often begin interrogative sentences.
what, whom, whose, who, which
Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Which jacket should I wear?
Possessive pronouns show ownership. Another word for ownership is possession.
his, hers, your, theirs
When possessive pronouns are used before nouns, they are actually being used as adjectives, not pronouns.
Our family has vacation next week. (adjective)
That car is ours. (pronoun)
What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun.
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