A Pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun. Pronouns refer to persons, places, things, or ideas without renaming them. Amina is a person with a number of goals. Moreover, she is willing to work hard to develop them. [She is a pronoun replacing Anne. Them is a pronoun replacing goals.]
The noun that a pronoun replaces is the antecedent of that pronoun.
Khalid told himself that he should read the book and not stare at it. [John is the antecedent of the pronouns himself and he. Book is the antecedent of the pronoun it.]
There are seven kinds of pronouns: personal, demonstrative, reflexive, intensive, interrogative, relative, and indefinite.
Personal pronouns are pronouns that require different forms to express person, number, and gender. Person refers to the relationship between the speaker or writer and the person or thing being discussed. You use the first-person pronouns, I, me, we, and us, when you refer to yourself as the speaker or writer. You use the second-person pronoun, you, to refer to your audience. You use the third-person pronouns, he, him, she, her, it, they, and them, to refer to people or objects other than yourself or your audience.
The number of a personal pronoun indicates whether the antecedent is singular or plural. I, she, he, and it are some of the singular pronouns; we, they, and us are some of the plural pronouns; you can be either singular or plural.
The gender of a personal pronoun tells whether the antecedent is masculine, feminine, or neuter. He, him, and his indicate the masculine gender; she, her, and hers indicate the feminine gender; and it indicates the neuter gender.
Possessive Pronouns: Personal pronouns that show ownership or belonging are called possessive pronouns.
If the books on the radiator are yours, you should remove them. Javaid went to get his calculator.
The following chart shows the personal pronouns, and the possessive pronouns are in parentheses.
I, me (my, mine)
we, us (our, ours)
You (your, yours)
You (your, yours)
He, him (his)
She, her (her, hers)
They, them (their, theirs)
Demonstrative pronouns specify the individual or the group that is being referred to. There are four demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, and those.
These are cantaloupes, and those are honeydew melons.
Of the two cars, do you prefer this or that?
Reflexive pronouns indicate that people or things perform actions to, for, or on behalf of themselves. You form reflexive pronouns with the suffixes -self and -selves.
FIRST PERSON myself, ourselves
SECOND PERSON yourself, yourselves
THIRD PERSON himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves
The Sharifs gave themselves two weeks for a vacation. [Think: gave to themselves two weeks.]
Nausheen bought herself a record. [Think: bought for herself a record.]
The horse hurt itself during the jump. [The horse performed the action of hurting upon itself.]
Intensive pronouns are the same words as the reflexive pronouns, but they draw special attention to a person or a thing mentioned in the sentence. Intensive pronouns usually follow the words that they intensify.
Shakespeare himself could not have said it better. [The pronoun himself draws special attention to the subject, Shakespeare.]
This book has been autographed by the author herself.
[The pronoun herself draws special attention to author.]
The crowd expected the senator himself to show up at the rally. [Himself draws special attention to the direct object, senator.]
Albert’s mother found the ring itself behind the sofa. [Itself draws special attention to the direct object, ring.]
Interrogative pronouns introduce questions. Here are the most frequently used interrogative pronouns: who, whom, which, what, and whose.
Whose is this scarf?
Which of the two sofas did you buy?
What did you receive from Ms. Taylor?
Relative pronouns introduce adjective clauses (Unit 3), which modify nouns and pronouns. Here are the relative pronouns:
who whom whose which that
The aircraft that Chuck Yeager used to break the sound barrier in 1947 was a
X-l rocket airplane. [Aircraft is the antecedent of that.] Bell
People who live by the sword die by the sword. People is the antecedent of who.]
Indefinite pronouns refer to people, places, or things in general. You can often use these pronouns without antecedents. The following list contains commonly used indefinite pronouns:
Is any of the milk left?
Either of those three cyclists may win the bicycle race.
Several of the couples went out to dinner.
Use of ‘It’
It is a persona pronoun. It is used in the following situations:
(a) For young children, animals and inanimate Objects ; as
The baby loves to be with its mother.
The rat nibbled at the ropes with its sharp teeth.
I have bought a new pen; everybody has liked it.
(b) In speaking of the time or the weather ; as
It is ten by my watch.
It is clear today.
(c) In some Interrogative Sentences and their answers; as
Who is it ? It is I.
Who was it that knocked at the door ?
(d) To emphasize a Noun or a Pronoun ; as
It was Sohan who broke the window pane.
It is she who hid behind the curtain.
(e) In Introductory Phrase ‘it is’; as
It is not like good boys to shirk work.
It is our duty to pay homage to the martyrs.
(f) In Exclamatory Sentences ; as
What a lovely flower it is!
What a horrible sight it was!
(g) To refer to a Phrase or a Clause going before ; as
You stole the book and I knew it.
He told a lie and you concealed it.
Use of Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive Pronouns are used when the subject and object is the same person
(a) As Objects of Verbs; as
I hurt myself.
She enjoyed herself.
We hid ourselves.
(.b) With Prepositions; as
Please tell me something about yourself.
She was sitting there by herself.
(c) To emphasize a Pronoun; as
I myself saw the thief.
He himself killed the lion.
Study the following sentences :
My father and I (not myself) are going to
These books are for you and me (not myself).
My friend invited my brother and me (not myself) to tea.
Use of Relative Pronouns
Relative Pronouns are used for their preceding Nouns.
Here comes the boy who stole my book.
This is the book that lay on the table.
The Relative Pronoun must be of the same number and person as its Antecedent; as
This is the boy who stands first in the class.
It is he who is a thief.
It is you who are to blame.
It is I who am at fault.
The boys who are guilty shall be punished.
This is the only book that I like.
The Relative Pronoun should be placed as near to its Antecedent as possible; as
God loves those who love their fellow-men.
I hate the boys who shirk work.
Who, whose and whom are used for persons only; as
I know the man who is going on the road.
This is the boy whose book was stolen yesterday.
Tell me the name of the girl whom you want to see.
Which is used for things without life and for ordinary animals.
It may also refer to a sentence; as
This is the pen which my father gave me on my birthday.
This is the pen of which you have stolen the nib.
The cow which we bought last month has gone dry.
He lost his father which is really sad.
(a) Restrictive use of who and which:
This is the girl who got the first prize.
This is the cow which we sold yesterday.
Here who refers to a particular girl and which towards a particular cow. Hence they introduce the Sub-ordinate Adjective Clauses. The is always used in a restrictive sense.
(b) Continuative use of who and which:
I met my cousin, who (= and he) gave me a message.
She gave me a pen, which (= and it) was lost by me.
Here who and which do not qualify cousin and pen. Hence they do not introduce an adjective Clause but introduce-co-ordinate Clause. These clauses are separated from the rest if the sentence by using a comma.
That is used:
(a) After the Superlative Degree:
You are the laziest boy that I have ever seen.
She is the best singer that I know.
(b) After Numeral Adjectives:
Quaid-e-Azam was the first Indian that became the Governor-General of Pakistan.
(c) As a defining word:
Bring me the book that is lying on the floor.
The boy that stole my book, is punished today.
(d) Where the Gender is not known:
The child that was lost in the fair has been traced out.
(e) In speaking of persons, animals and things:
This is the house that I built.
He told me everything about the people and animals that he saw in
(f) After the Interrogative Pronouns;
Who are you that say so?
What harm has he done to you that you are bent on his ruin?
(g) In an Adverbial sense:
This is the time that (at which) she promised to come. (h) After the words it, all, any, nothing, only, same, none etc:
It was he that led me to trouble.
All that glitters is not gold.
Anyone that came there, brought some present.
It is not for nothing that I work hard.
It is only dogs that bark.
This is the same book that I bought yesterday.
There was none that did not love her.
‘What’, ‘that’ and ‘which’ are synonyms. ‘What’ is invariably used for things. It antecedent is always understood.
I mean what I say.
He does what he likes.
What he will say, is already known to me.
Use of Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite Pronouns point to some particular person I thing but they point to the Nouns which are not mentioned but are implied.
The following are the Indefinite Pronoun:
One, none, some, somebody, anybody, anyone, no-body, every-body, other, all etc.
(a) One is used:
1. For people in general:
One ought to do one's duty.
But, we say:
Every-one ought to do his duty.
When 'One' is a numeral, we say ;
One of the girls is absent today.
2. To avoid repetition of a Noun:
This is a blue pencil; that is a red one.
3. In the sense of beings or creatures:
A bitch loves her young one.
(b) None (= not one) is used:
1. In the Singular when it refers to a Material Noun:
I want milk ; there is none in the jug.
2. In the Plural or Singular when referring to persons or Common Nouns:
None but the brave deserve the fair. (Plural)
Do you want oranges? There are none in the market.
Is there any letter for me ? No, there is none. (Singular)
(c) Each, Every-one, Any-body, Every-body etc.
1. The Pronoun he, his, she, her etc., are used for anybody, everybody etc. according to the context:
Each of the boys has taken his share.
Every-one of the girls likes her manners.
2. We use he where the sex is not expressed:
Everybody likes to serve his own purpose.
Everyone can make /us choice.
Anyone can speak if he likes.
Use of Distributive Pronouns
Distributive Pronouns refer to a single person or one thing at a time. They are always followed by Verbs in Singular Number:
Each of the girls is present.
Either of you is at fault.
Neither of them is educated.
[‘Either’ means ‘one of the two’ (options) or ‘both of the two’ and ‘Neither’ means ‘no one of the two’.]
Note: Either has two meanings:
1. One or the other of the two.
2. Each of the two or both.
There are shops on either side of the road.
You may take either of the two pens.
[‘Each other’ is used in case of two persons or objects/things and ‘one another’ is used for more than two persons or things.]