Pronouns

A pronoun is used in place of a noun or nouns. Common pronouns include he, her, him, I, it, me, she, them, they, us, and we. Here are some examples:

INSTEAD OF: Luma is a good athlete.
She is a good athlete. (The pronoun she replaces Luma.)
INSTEAD OF: The beans and tomatoes are fresh-picked.
They are fresh-picked. (The pronoun they replaces the beans and tomatoes.)

Often a pronoun takes the place of a particular noun. This noun is known as the antecedent. A pronoun "refers to," or directs your thoughts toward, its antecedent.

Let's call Luma and ask her to join the team. (Her is a pronoun; Luma is its antecedent.)

To find a pronoun's antecedent, ask yourself what that pronoun refers to. What does her refer to in the sentence above—that is, who is the her? The her in the sentence is Luma; therefore, Luma is the antecedent.

Subjective Pronouns


Pronouns

A subjective pronoun acts as the subject of a sentence—it performs the action of the verb. The subjective pronouns are he, I, it, she, they, we, and you.

He spends ages looking out the window.
After lunch, she and I went to the planetarium.

Objective Pronouns

An objective pronoun acts as the object of a sentence—it receives the action of the verb. The objective pronouns are her, him, it, me, them, us, and you.

Cousin Eldred gave me a trombone.
Take a picture of him, not us!

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun tells you who owns something. The possessive pronouns are hers, his, its, mine, ours, theirs, and yours.

The red basket is mine.
Yours is on the coffee table.

Demonstrative Pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun. The demonstrative pronouns are that, these, this, and those.

That is a good idea.
These are hilarious cartoons.

A demonstrative pronoun may look like a demonstrative adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun is used in a question. It helps to ask about something. The interrogative pronouns are what, which, who, whom, and compound words ending in "ever," such as whatever, whichever, whoever, and whomever.

What on earth is that?
Who ate the last Fig Newton?

An interrogative pronoun may look like an interrogative adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to an indefinite, or general, person or thing. Indefinite pronouns include all, any, both, each, everyone, few, many, neither, none, nothing, several, some, and somebody.

Something smells good.
Many like salsa with their chips.

An indefinite pronoun may look like an indefinite adjective, but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun, taking the place of a noun.

Relative Pronouns

A relative pronoun introduces a clause, or part of a sentence, that describes a noun. The relative pronouns are that, which, who, and whom.

You should bring the book that you love most.

That introduces "you love most," which describes the book.

Hector is a photographer who does great work.

Who introduces "does great work," which describes Hector.

Reflexive Pronouns

A reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of a sentence. The reflexive pronouns are herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves. Each of these words can also act as an intensive pronoun (see below).

I learned a lot about myself at summer camp. (Myself refers back to I.)
They should divide the berries among themselves. (Themselves refers back to they.)

Intensive Pronouns

An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent (the noun that comes before it). The intensive pronouns are herself, himself, itself, myself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves. Each of these words can also act as a reflective pronoun (see above).

I myself don't like eggs.
The queen herself visited our class.

See also: Pronouns: Pinch Hitters, Pronouns and Case, and Pronoun Reference.


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