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Pronouns

Pronouns

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Personal Pronouns

Unlike English nouns, which usually do not change form except for the addition of an -s ending to create the plural or the apostrophe + s to create the possessive, personal pronouns (which stand for persons or things) change form according to their various uses within a sentence. Thus I is used as the subject of a sentence (I am happy.), me is used as an object in various ways (He hit me. He gave me a book. Do this for me.), and my is used as the possessive form (That's my car.) The same is true of the other personal pronouns: the singular you and he/she/it and the plural we, you, and they. These forms are called cases. An easily printable chart is available that shows the various Cases of the Personal Pronouns.

Personal pronouns can also be characterized or distinguished by person. First person refers to the speaker(s) or writer(s) ("I" for singular, "we" for plural). Second person refers to the person or people being spoken or written to ("you" for both singular and plural). Third person refers to the person or people being spoken or written about ("he," "she," and "it" for singular, "they" for plural). The person of a pronoun is also demonstrated in the chart Cases of the Personal Pronouns. As you will see there, each person can change form, reflecting its use within a sentence. Thus, "I" becomes "me" when used as an object ("She left me") and "my" when used in its possessive role (That's my car"); "they" becomes "them" in object form ("I like them") and "their" in possessive ("That's just their way").

When a personal pronoun is connected by a conjunction to another noun or pronoun, its case does not change. We would write "I am taking a course in Asian history"; if Talitha is also taking that course, we would write "Talitha and I are taking a course in Asian history." (Notice that Talitha gets listed before "I" does. This is one of the few ways in which English is a "polite" language.) The same is true when the object form is called for: "Professor Vendetti gave all her books to me"; if Talitha also received some books, we'd write "Professor Vendetti gave all her books to Talitha and me." For more on this, see cases of pronouns.

When a pronoun and a noun are combined (which will happen with the plural first- and second-person pronouns), choose the case of the pronoun that would be appropriate if the noun were not there.

 

We students are demanding that the administration give us two hours for lunch. The administration has managed to put us students in a bad situation.

With the second person, we don't really have a problem because the subject form is the same as the object form, "you":

 

"You students are demanding too much." "We expect you students to behave like adults."

Among the possessive pronoun forms, there is also what is called the nominative possessive: mine, yours, ours, theirs.

  

Look at those cars. Theirs is really ugly; ours is beautiful. This new car is mine. Mine is newer than yours.

Demonstrative Pronouns

The family of demonstratives (this/that/these/those/such) can behave either as pronouns or as determiners.

As pronouns, they identify or point to nouns.

  

That is incredible! (referring to something you just saw) I will never forget this. (referring to a recent experience) Such is my belief. (referring to an explanation just made)

As determiners, the demonstratives adjectivally modify a noun that follows. A sense of relative distance (in time and space) can be conveyed through the choice of these pronouns/determiners:

This [book in my hand] is well written. When used as subjects.student. For help with who/whom refer to the section on Consistency. A sense of emotional distance or even disdain can be conveyed with the demonstrative pronouns:   You're going to wear these? This is the best you can do? Pronouns used in this way would receive special stress in a spoken sentence. who (and its forms) refers to people. the reference of demonstratives is non-personal. over there. to the verb within the dependent clause (studies). are usually deemed indispensable for the meaning of a sentence and are not set off with commas. a "which clause" is often set off with a comma or a pair of commas. say.. In other words. For that reason. whatever — are known as indefinite relative pronouns. The word who connects or relates the subject. the demonstratives.) . But we would not write "The principal suspended those for two days". The pronoun which refers to things. instead. in either singular or plural form. on the table] is trash.e. Generally. whomever. we would have to use "those" as a determiner and write "The principal suspended those students for two days. that [book that I'm pointing to. but it can also refer to people in a general kind of way. can be used to refer to objects as well as persons." Relative Pronouns The relative pronouns (who/whoever/which/that) relate groups of words to nouns or other pronouns (The student who studies hardest usually does the best. Indefinite Pronouns The indefinite pronouns (everybody/anybody/somebody/all/each/every/some/none/one) do not substitute for specific nouns but function themselves as nouns (Everyone is wondering if any is left. we could write "Those were loitering near the entrance during the fire drill" (as long as it is perfectly clear in context what "those" refers to). when referring to students." on the other hand.   This is my father. A couple of sample sentences should suffice to demonstrate why they are called "indefinite":    The coach will select whomever he pleases. that usually refers to things. Choosing correctly between which and that and between who and whom leads to what are probably the most Frequently Asked Questions about English grammar. Whoever crosses this line first will win the race. For help with which/that. We also recommend that you take the quizzes on the use of who and whom at the end of that section. Those [pancakes that I had yesterday morning] were even better. refer to the Notorious Confusables article on those words (including the hyperlink to Michael Quinion's article on this usage and the links to relevant quizzes). "That clauses. What is often an indefinite relative pronoun:  She will tell you what you need to know. that can be removed from the sentence without changing the essential meaning of the sentence). we use "which" to introduce clauses that are parenthetical in nature (i. The expanded form of the relative pronouns — whoever. That is my book. however. In other roles.    These [pancakes sitting here now on my plate] are delicious.). He seemed to say whatever came to mind.

than little ol' me or I. but it takes a singular verb.) What this means is that whenever there is a reflexive pronoun in a sentence there must be a person to whom that pronoun can "reflect. when there is no first person. more formal. These decisions will be made by myself me. none. but it would be correct. many. few. words that double as Determiners: enough. either. less. None is nearly always plural (meaning "not any") except when something else in the sentence makes us regard it as a singular (meaning "not one").) It is probably better to pluralize and avoid the clumsy himself or herself construction. both. Intensive Pronouns The intensive pronouns (such as myself. themselves) consist of a personal pronoun plus self or selves and emphasize a noun. the reflexive will take either the first person  Juanita. any. You paid yourself a million dollars? She encouraged herself to do well. (Students who cheat on this quiz are only hurting themselves."). Carlos. The indefinite pronoun (see above) one has its own reflexive form ("One must have faith in oneself. yourself. every. so it has a way of sneaking into sentences where it doesn't belong. If you have any questions. each. the sentence "Please hand that book to myself" would be incorrect because there is no "I" in that sentence for the "myself" to reflect to (and we would use "me" instead of "myself").) Reflexive Pronouns The reflexive pronouns (which have the same forms as the intensive pronouns) indicate that the sentence subject also receives the action of the verb. The indefinite pronoun none can be either singular or plural. There is a separate section on the uses of the pronoun one.) It is possible (but rather unusual) for an intensive pronoun to precede the noun it refers to. more. the second person:  You and Carlos have deceived yourselves. as in "None of the food is fresh. and I have deceived ourselves into believing in my uncle. much. fewer will finish. neither. See the section on Pronoun Consistency for help in determining the number (singular/plural) characteristics of these pronouns. most. The inappropriate reflexive form has a wonderful name: the untriggered reflexive. fewer.    Bob and myself I are responsible for this decision. "Myself" tends to sound weightier. A sentence such as "I gave that book to myself for Christmas" might be silly. depending on its context. some   Few will be chosen. There are other indefinite pronouns. Little is expected. (I myself don't know the answer. Be alert to a tendency to use reflexive pronoun forms (ending in -self) where they are neither appropriate nor necessary. When pronouns are combined. (There is an entire page on the pronoun one. but the other indefinite pronouns use either himself or themselves as reflexives.One of the chief difficulties we have with the indefinite pronouns lies in the fact that "everybody" feels as though it refers to more than one person. . Refer to the section on Pronoun Consistency for help on determining the number of the indefinite pronouns (and the number [singular/plural] of the verbs that accompany them). little." the confusion usually disappears.) If you think of this word as meaning "every single body. (Myself. please contact myself me or Bob Jones. herself. all. several. (Everybody is accounted for. I don't believe a word he says." Some can be singular or plural depending on whether it refers to something countable or noncountable. or." In other words. ourselves.

it. In this determiner role. The demonstrative pronouns are that. He doesn't know whose car he hit. this. who. taking the place of a noun. and like the relative pronouns. the interrogative pronouns play a subject role in the clauses they introduce:   We know who is guilty of this crime. whichever. The interrogative pronouns also act as Determiners: It doesn't matter which beer you buy. ours. Interrogative Pronouns The interrogative pronouns (who/which/what) introduce questions. but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun. It helps to ask about something. The objective pronouns are her. These are hilarious cartoons. I am referring to specific questions on that quiz. and compound words ending in "ever. and yours.  No one here can blame himself or herself. The possessive pronouns are hers. whoever. I already told the detective what I know about it. me. and those. If we're taking a quiz and I ask "Which questions give you the most trouble?". us. . Interrogative Pronouns An interrogative pronoun is used in a question. Objective Pronouns An objective pronoun acts as the object of a sentence—it receives the action of the verb. Take a picture of him. his. generically. and whomever. The red basket is mine. Cousin Eldred gave me a trombone. and you. the interrogative pronouns introduce noun clauses. whom. they are sometimes called interrogative adjectives. Demonstrative Pronouns A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun. its. mine. (What is that? Who will help me? Which do you prefer?) Which is generally used with more specific reference than what." such as whatever. The people here cannot blame themselves. If I ask "What questions give you most trouble"? I could be asking what kind of questions on that quiz (or what kind of question. theirs. A demonstrative pronoun may look like a demonstrative adjective. him. them. which. The interrogative pronouns are what. Yours is on the coffee table. in general) gives you trouble. That is a good idea. not us! Possessive Pronouns A possessive pronoun tells you who owns something. these. Like the relative pronouns.

(Myself refers back to I. The queen herself visited our class. himself. neither. who. Each of these words can also act as a reflective pronoun (see above). itself. The intensive pronouns are herself. any. none. some. several. both. and yourselves.) They should divide the berries among themselves. Relative Pronouns A relative pronoun introduces a clause. few. taking the place of a noun. himself. that describes a noun. Many like salsa with their chips. everyone. each. taking the place of a noun. I myself don't like eggs. You should bring the book that you love most. Hector is a photographer who does great work.) Intensive Pronouns An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent (the noun that comes before it). or general. ourselves. person or thing. (Themselves refers back to they. ourselves. An indefinite pronoun may look like an indefinite adjective. but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun." which describes the book. The relative pronouns are that. Something smells good. Who introduces "does great work.What on earth is that? Who ate the last Fig Newton? An interrogative pronoun may look like an interrogative adjective. The reflexive pronouns are herself. which. and somebody. I learned a lot about myself at summer camp. . itself. Indefinite pronouns include all. myself. Indefinite Pronouns An indefinite pronoun refers to an indefinite. and whom. but it is used differently in a sentence: it acts as a pronoun. and yourselves. myself. Reflexive Pronouns A reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of a sentence. Each of these words can also act as an intensive pronoun (see below). That introduces "you love most. themselves. or part of a sentence. many. themselves." which describes Hector. nothing.

7) The lion can defend . Our form teacher is Mr. She same school. . did you take the photo by ? 5) I wrote this poem . sister is nine. lessons. self-pronouns . ___ name is Susan.itself . The dogs love to play in What's Yours. He has two dogs. myself .Exercise Choose the correct possessive determiners. 4) Emma. Peterson. Jason's form teacher is Mrs.ourselves .yourselves . 6) He cut with the knife while he was doing the dishes. Smith. He's 12. This is They have got a pet. Hi Daniel.herself . Now I have a question for you.Possessive determiners .Exercise Choose the correct reflexive pronouns from the dropdown menu. There are 450 boys and girls in has got a pet.themselves 1) Robert made this T-shirt . Answer: I have got a sister. John pet? Reflexive pronouns. Example: I have got a sister. Jason and I go to the school. I like garden. name is John.himself . 2) Lisa did the homework 3) We helped to some cola at the party. name is Charlie.yourself . too. friend Jason. Her name is Susan. pet is a budgie. pet is a tortoise.

shouted in the street. is a taxi driver. if you want more milk. is from Ireland. the boy has just arrived at the airport. Type an x if the relative pronoun can be left out. 5) That's Peter. 3) We often visit our aunt in Norwich is in East Anglia. 8) The children. 2) Mr Richards. 9) The car. which or whose from the dropdown menu. which. 4) This is the girl comes from Spain. whose or no pronouns? . which. which or whose where necessary.8) My mother often talks to . driver is a young man. 9) Tim and Gerry. . 10) What did you do with the money your mother lent you? Relative pronouns . are not from our school. 1) I talked to the girl car had broken down in front of the shop. father is a professor. Relative pronouns . 10) Alice and Doris collected the stickers . help . 6) Thank you very much for your e-mail was very interesting. lives on the corner. forgot his umbrella.who.Exercise Choose one of the following relative pronouns who. whose . Example: Peter is the boy ____ rides the blue bike.who.Exercise 2 Put in the relative who. 7) The man.

5) The robber stole the car the lady parked in front of the supermarket. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. 1) This is the boy had an accident. indefinite pronoun d. relative pronoun c. demonstrative pronoun e. interrogative b. reflexive pronoun f. indefinite pronoun d. demonstrative pronoun e. indefinite pronoun d.Answer: Peter is the boy who rides the blue bike. interrogative b. interrogative b. 2) Yesterday I saw a car was really old. a. brother is five. demonstrative pronoun e. reflexive pronoun f. demonstrative pronoun e. reflexive pronoun f. interrogative . personal pronoun pronoun 2. relative pronoun c. demonstrative pronoun e. for a long time now. indefinite pronoun d. The soldier who spotted the sniper saved the platoon and won a medal. demonstrative pronoun e. personal pronoun interrogative pronoun 4. personal pronoun pronoun 3. relative pronoun c. has only one daughter. a. demonstrative pronoun e. 4) I haven't seen Frank. 7) Can I talk to the girl is sitting on the bench? 8) The book you gave me is great. 6) This is the man house is on fire. a. interrogative b. was President of the USA. The snake that startled Melissa was more frightened than she was. relative pronoun c. relative pronoun c. indefinite pronoun d. personal pronoun pronoun 7. relative pronoun c. personal pronoun pronoun 5. Identify the correct choice in each question 1. Kathy knows who will be taking her place. a. personal pronoun pronoun 6. personal pronoun pronoun b. interrogative b. Tim saved himself an extra serving of ice cream. indefinite pronoun d. reflexive pronoun f. b. 3) Mandy is the girl I met on Friday. Did you find anyone to take your shift next Friday so you can go the concert? a. 9) She likes hamburgers are hot. 10) Bill Clinton. reflexive pronoun f. relative pronoun c. indefinite pronoun d. Have you had any of those? a. but please try his and tell me what you think. a. I know you like the flavor of ice cream you have. and his brother was jealous.

a. interrogative b. relative pronoun c. relative pronoun c. interrogative b. Rest assured that some of the vegetables will be left and none of the dessert will. demonstrative pronoun e. Which of these would you like to wear to the awards dinner? a. won several Emmys this year. relative pronoun c. interrogative b. demonstrative pronoun e. personal pronoun pronoun 17. Did Gwen want these? a. personal pronoun pronoun 12. relative pronoun c. personal pronoun pronoun b. a. demonstrative pronoun e. The dirt that is piled behind Randy's house is for his new vegetable garden. indefinite pronoun d. "The West Wing. reflexive pronoun f. personal pronoun pronoun 18. indefinite pronoun d. demonstrative pronoun e. a. personal pronoun pronoun 16. a. interrogative . reflexive pronoun f. indefinite pronoun d. relative pronoun c. indefinite pronoun d. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. Did the letter carrier bring anything for Eli? a. personal pronoun pronoun 11. reflexive pronoun f. personal pronoun pronoun 19. demonstrative pronoun e. Bob smiled and asked. relative pronoun c. demonstrative pronoun e. indefinite pronoun d. When Dick finds the key. personal pronoun pronoun 20. reflexive pronoun f. personal pronoun pronoun 9. relative pronoun c. relative pronoun c. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. demonstrative pronoun e. indefinite pronoun d. "Would you please hand me that?" a. interrogative b. a." which is Karen's favorite show. personal pronoun pronoun 13. interrogative b. a. demonstrative pronoun e. interrogative b.8. personal pronoun pronoun 15. reflexive pronoun f. Would Bob like Sally to come to the presentation or is he more comfortable going alone? a. relative pronoun c. interrogative b. interrogative b. relative pronoun c. relative pronoun c. indefinite pronoun d. indefinite pronoun d. demonstrative pronoun e. demonstrative pronoun e. Neither of the movies that Margaret wants to see are of interest to Shawna. indefinite pronoun d. reflexive pronoun f. reflexive pronoun f. The company provided itself every opportunity to succeed. Whom did you pick to win the league championship? a. he will put it some place safe. interrogative b. personal pronoun pronoun 14. personal pronoun pronoun 10. interrogative b. interrogative b. maybe she should offer them some of her water. a. demonstrative pronoun e. indefinite pronoun d. indefinite pronoun d. demonstrative pronoun e. interrogative b. relative pronoun c. relative pronoun c. demonstrative pronoun e. When Enid catches the hikers. indefinite pronoun d. indefinite pronoun d.

me (personal pronouns) or my. Personal Pronouns Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns Reflexive Pronouns subject form object form possessive adjective possessive pronoun I me my mine myself you you your yours yourself he him his his himself she her her hers herself it it its its itself we us our ours ourselves you you your yours yourselves they them their theirs themselves .Pronouns are words like I. mine (possessive pronouns).

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