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Types of Pronouns

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A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. Pronouns are used so that our
language is not cumbersome with the same nouns being repeated over and over in a
paragraph. Some examples of pronouns
include I, me, mine, myself,she, her, hers, herself, we, us, ours and ourselves. You may
have noticed that they tend to come in sets of four, all referring to the same person, group or
thing.

He, him, his and himself, for example, all refer to a male person or
something belonging to him

They, them, theirs and themselves all refer to a group or something


belonging to a group, and so on.
The truth is that there are many different types of pronouns, each serving a different
purpose in a sentence.

Personal Pronouns
Personal pronouns can be the subject of a clause or sentence. They are: I, he, she, it, they,
we, and you. Example: They went to the store.
Personal pronouns can also be objective, where they are the object of a verb, preposition,
or infinitive phrase. They are: me, her, him, it, you, them, and us. Example: David gave the
gift to her.
Possession can be shown by personal pronouns, like:mine, his, hers, ours, yours,
its, and theirs. Example: Is this mine or yours?

Subject Pronouns
Subject pronouns are often (but not always) found at the beginning of a sentence. More
precisely, the subject of a sentence is the person or thing that lives out the verb.

I owe that person $3,000. I am living out that debt. I is the subject
pronoun.
He and I had a fight. This sentence has two subjects
because he and I were both involved in the fight.
He broke my kneecaps. You get the idea.
To him, I must now pay my children's college funds. If you'll notice, the
verb in this sentence the action is "pay." Although I is not at the
beginning of the sentence, it is the person living out the action and is,
therefore, the subject.

Object Pronouns

By contrast, objects and object pronouns indicate the recipient of an action or motion. They
come after verbs and prepositions (to, with, for, at, on, beside, under, around, etc.).

The guy I borrowed money from showed me a crowbar and told me to


pay himimmediately.
I begged him for more time.
He said he'd given me enough time already.
I tried to dodge the crowbar, but he hit me with it anyway.
Just then, the police arrived and arrested us.

Subject vs. Object Pronouns


There is often confusion over which pronouns you should use when you are one half of a
dual subject or object. For example, should you say:

"Me and him had a fight." or "He and I had a fight?"

"The police arrested me and him." or "The police arrested he and I?"
Some people will tell you that you should always put the other person first and refer to
yourself as "I" because it's more proper, but those people are wrong. You can put the other
person first out of politeness, but you should always use the correct pronouns (subject or
object) for the sentence.
A good test to decide which one you need is to try the sentence with one pronoun at a time.
Would you say, "Me had a fight?" Of course not. You'd say, "I had a fight." What about, "Him
had a fight?" No, you'd say, "He had a fight." So when you put the two subjects together, you
get, "He and I had a fight." The same rule applies to the other example.

You wouldn't say, "The police arrested he," or, "The police arrested I."

You would use "him" and "me."


So the correct sentence is, "The police arrested him and me."

Possessive Adjectives vs. Possessive Pronouns


Pronominal possessive adjectives include the following: my, your, our, their, his, her and its.
They are sort of pronouns in that they refer to an understood noun, showing possession by
that noun of something. They are technically adjectives, though, because they modify a
noun that follows them.

My money is all gone.

I gambled it all away on your race horse.

His jockey was too fat.


In all of these examples, there is a noun (money, race horse, jockey) that has not been
replaced with a pronoun. Instead, an adjective is there to show whose money, horse and
jockey were talking about.

Possessive pronouns, on the other hand mine, yours, ours, theirs, his, hers, its are truly
pronouns because they refer to a previously named or understood noun. They stand alone,
not followed by any other noun. For comparison's sake, look at this sentence:

You have your vices, and I have mine.


There are two types of pronouns here: subject (you/I) and possessive (mine). There's also a
possessive adjective (your). We'll deal with the subject pronouns momentarily, but for now,
just look at the others.
Your is followed by the noun, vices, so although we know that your refers to you, it is not the
noun or the noun substitute (pronoun). Vices is the noun. In the second half of the sentence,
however, the noun and the possessive adjective have both been replaced with one word
the pronoun, mine. Because it stands in the place of the noun, mine is a true pronoun
whereas your is an adjective that must be followed by a noun.

Indefinite Pronouns
These pronouns do not point to any particular nouns, but refer to things or people in
general. Some of them are: few, everyone, all, some, anything, and nobody. Example:
Everyone is already here.

Relative Pronouns
These pronouns are used to connect a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun. These
are:who, whom, which, whoever, whomever, whichever, and that. Example: The driver who
ran the stop sign was careless.

Intensive Pronouns
These pronouns are used to emphasize a noun or pronoun. These are: myself, himself,
herself, themselves, itself, yourself, yourselves, and ourselves. Example: He himself is his
worst critic.

Demonstrative Pronouns
There are five demonstrative pronouns: these, those, this, that, and such. They focus
attention on the nouns that are replacing. Examples: Such was his understanding. Those
are totally awesome.

Interrogative Pronouns

These pronouns are used to begin a question: who, whom, which, what, whoever,
whomever, whichever, and whatever. Example: Who will you bring to the party?

Reflexive Pronouns
There is one more type of pronoun, and that is the reflexive pronoun. These are the ones
that end in self or "selves." They are object pronouns that we use when the subject and
the object are the same noun.

I told myself not to bet all my money on one horse.

The robber hurt himself chasing me through the alley.


We also use them to emphasize the subject.

Usually, the guy I borrowed the money from will send an employee to
collect the money, but since I owed so much, he himself came to my house.

Examples of Pronouns in Context


Now see if you can find all the pronouns and possessive adjectives in this paragraph:

No matter what your teachers may have taught you about pronouns, the I's don't always
have it. If your teachers ever warned you about the evils of gambling, however, they
were right about that. You don't want someone breaking your kneecaps with his
crowbar; it will hurt, the police might arrest you, and you may never forgive yourself.