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English Grammar lays the foundation of the English Language. When a person has learned grammar, it will be easier for that person to know how to organize and express the ideas in their mind without difficulty. As a result, they will be able to understand, speak, read, and write the English language more fluently. To make our readers well skilled in English Grammar, we have started our series 'Grammar Scholar'. In our previous article, we understood Noun and it's usage in English Grammar. In continuation of this series, today we will discuss 'Pronouns'.
Pronouns such as “I,” “they,” “she,” “he,” “we,” “hers” and many others, are a part of our daily English language. We use pronouns as a way to identify or refer to someone. Clearly, knowledge of Pronoun is very important for the understanding of the English Language. So let's discuss Pronoun in detail in this module.
Grammar Scholar: Pronoun
A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun. Pronouns stand for (pro + noun), which means a word that refers to a noun. What exactly does this mean? A noun is a word for a person, place, thing or idea. Some examples of nouns are Raman, cow, table, and love. Each of these words represents a living or nonliving object or a feeling. A pronoun can be used to replace one of these nouns if you do not want to use the specific noun. For instance, He is a pronoun that can be used in place of Raman, it is a pronoun that can be used in place of cow or table.
But make sure that when a pronoun is used in place of a noun, it must match the number, point of view, and gender of the noun it is replacing.
Types of Pronoun
Pronouns are mainly of 10 types, which are as follows:
1. Personal Pronouns :
The personal pronoun is a pronoun which includes three persons :
1. First Person (The person speaking): I, We
2. Second Person (The person has spoken to): You
3. Third Person (The person has spoken of ): He, She, It, They
Subjective case pronouns are pronouns that act as subjects of sentences. These are the versions used for the subjects of the verb. For example
- I am your teacher.
- You are my best friend.
Objective case pronouns are pronouns that act as objects of sentences. These are the versions used when personal pronouns are objects. For example:
- You should talk to me on this matter.
- He gave him a very bad rating.
2. Possessive pronoun :
A possessive pronoun is pronouns that are used to indicate ownership or belonging. The term possessive pronoun covers absolute possessive pronouns.
- Take Riya's bag to the school. (Here Riya is a pronoun)
Take her bag to the school ('Her' replaced noun 'Riya' )
The below table depicts subjective personal pronouns, objective personal pronouns, and possessive pronouns. It also shows the associated possessive adjectives and absolute possessive pronouns.
Weak possessive pronouns
Strong(Absolute) Possessive case pronouns
He , She , It
Him , her , it
|His ,her, it|
His , hers, its
Third Person (Plural)
3. Reflexive Pronoun :
A reflexive pronoun is used with another noun (or pronoun) when something does something to itself. The reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
- Raman tried to solve the tough question himself. (The reflexive pronoun himself tells us that Raman did something to Raman)
- I often ask myself why I left that beautiful city and came here. (The reflexive pronoun is ourself indicates that Raman did something to Raman)
4. Demonstrative Pronoun
Demonstratives pronoun are pronouns which behave either as pronouns or as determiners. The demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, those, such. A demonstrative pronoun tells us whether it is replacing something singular or plural and whether that thing(s) is close by or farther away.
- That Brownie which I ate was marvellous! (Here that referring to something which someone just ate)
- Such is my trust. (referring to an explanation which someone has just made)
When Demonstratives pronoun act as determiners , they modify a noun and act as adjectives.
- These books are incredible.
- Those place I can never forget .
5. Indefinite Pronoun
An indefinite pronoun refers to a non-specific person or thing. These pronouns do not substitute nouns but function themselves as nouns. The most common indefinite nouns are all , none , one , many , both, everybody , somebody , anybody , someone , nobody etc.
- Everyone wants to get the first position , but only one succeeds
- All of you are being called by the manager
- Everyone likes Riya as she is a very good girl
6. Relative Pronoun
A relative pronoun is used to start a description for a noun. The description can come after the noun to identify it or tell us more information about it.
- Who and whom refer to people.
- Which refers to things.
- That refers to people or things.
- Mr. Sharma , who is your neighbour is sitting beside me at the restaurant.
- My mother gifted me the dress which I liked in the shop.
- I loved those stories that my grandmother used to tell me.
7. Reciprocal Pronouns
Reciprocal pronouns are those which shows a mutual action or relationship. In English, there are two reciprocal pronouns , which are:
- Each other
- One another
Each other is used to denote the relationship between only two person
- Riya and Raman gave each other presents on the occasion of the farewell ceremony.
When there are more than two persons , we use 'one another':
- All the students of this class support one another.
Reciprocal pronouns can also take possessive forms:
- They borrowed each other’s ideas.
- The scientists in the lab often use one another’s equipment.
8. Interrogative Pronouns :
The pronouns which are ued to ask questions are known as Interrogative pronouns. The main interrogative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, and what. Apart from these Whoever, whomever, whichever, and whatever are also interrogative pronouns.
- Whose book is this
- Whom have you asked ?
- Who is that new girl ?
- Which of these two bikes is yours ?
9. Distributive Pronoun
The pronouns which separate a person or thing from a group of persons or thing are called distributive pronouns .
Either of , Neither of , Each of , everyone of , any of , one of are distributive pronouns.
- Neither of these two students is good in maths.
- Either of you should come to help me in doing the assignment.
We use Singular verb with distributive Pronouns.
10. Emphatic Pronoun :
An emphatic pronoun refers back to another noun (or pronoun) in the sentence to emphasize it.
Myself, herself, himself are emphatic Pronouns.
- The actress herself attended the wedding.
- I will do it myself
*They look similar to Reflexive pronoun but they are different in usage. Emphatic pronouns are used to stress on the noun(antecedent)
Important Rules of Pronoun :
Rule 1 :
Who is used to ask about the subject and Whom is used to ask about the object. For example :
- Who won the dance competition ?
- Whom have you asked about the competition ?
Whose is used to ask about the possession or ownership or something. . For example :
- Whose bike is this ?
Which is used when there is a restricted range of answers. What is used more commonly when the range of answers is not restricted . For example :
- Which is the currency of Japan? Yuan or Yen
- What is the currency of Japan ?
Where is used to ask for the particular place , when is used to ask for the time.
- Where are you going ?
- When you will go ?
Rule 2 :
When there are two person or thing , then to denote choice , we use Either of and neither of.
- Neither of you is good in solving puzzles.
- Either of these two men is the owner of a bakery shop.
Note : Always use a singular verb with 'Either of' , 'neither of' , 'any of' irrespective of the subject.
To denote choice among many persons or things , we use 'One of' and 'Any of' .
- I would like to try one of these dishes in this restaurant.
- The teacher has not given good marks to any of you.
Rule 3 :
When there are all the three persons or two out of three persons coming in a single sentence , which indicates a positive sentence, then order of arrangement of pronouns should be : second person, third person and then First person (231)
- You, he & I have decided to go to Mussorie.
- You and Riya have done a great job.
- He and I are working hard to score good marks.
But if a sentence has negative sense then the order of arrangement should be First person, second person then the Third person.
- I, you & he are responsible for this mishappening .
- You & he have to do this work urgently.
The pronouns who, that & which become singular or plural depending on the subject. If the subject is singular, use a singular verb. If it is plural, use a plural verb.
- He is the only one of those employees who is always on time. (means he is the only person reaching on time)
The word who refers to one (of those employees). Therefore, we use the singular verb 'is'.
- He is one of those men who are always on time. (means there are many persons reaching on time, he is one of those)
The word who refers to men. Therefore, we use the plural verb 'are'.
Rule 4 :
After 'Let' , we always use 'objective case of the pronoun' .
- Let they go. (Incorrect)
- Let them go. (Correct)
After 'Than' , we always use 'Nominative(Subjective) case of Pronoun'.
Riya is more intelligent than her . (Incorrect)
Riya is more intelligent than she. (Correct)
After 'If' , we always use 'Nominative(Subjective) case of Pronoun'.
If I were her , I would have run in the marathon. (Incorrect)
If I were she , I would have run in the marathon. (Correct)
Rule 5 :
Both , Few , some and many are always used as Plural.
- Both of you have to finish it soon
- Some of my friends are going to the party.
Any & All are used as Singular as well as Plural.
- All of the students are going to the picnic
- All we see is not true.
Rule 6 :
Reflexive pronouns are used when both the subject and the object of a verb are the same person or thing.
For example, there is a sentence “Riya pinched.” This is incomplete as it doesn’t say anything about the person who was been pinched. And if we write Riya pinched Riya , then there will be a repetition of Riya is creating the confusion as of whether it is the same person or different. So we write it as following :
- Riya pinched herself .
– If the object of a preposition refers to a previous noun or pronoun, we use a reflexive pronoun:
- I did it for myself.
The object myself is the same person as the subject I.
- My brother and myself did it. (Incorrect)
- My brother and I did it . (Correct)
Hence , Reflexive pronouns are used only when the subject and object are the same in a sentence.
–A reflexive pronoun may also come first in certain cases
- Doubting himself, the man proceeded cautiously.
– When pronouns are combined, the reflexive pronoun will be used as ''we''.
- Riya, Raman, and I have deceived ourselves into believing in Rakesh.
Rule 7 :
Singular pronouns (I, he, she, everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, no one, nobody, someone, somebody, each, either, neither,etc.) go with singular verbs.
When either , neither , each are followed by 'of' , they always take take singular verbs.
- Each of the girl is pretty.
- Either of us is responsible for this work.
- Neither of them is capable enough to carry out this work.
Rule 8 :
Singular pronouns must remain singular throughout the complete sentence.
- Someone has to take responsibility and have to fulfill it well. (Incorrect)
- Someone has to take responsibility and has to fulfill it well. (Correct)
Rule 9 :
If two identical parts of speech are connected with either…or/neither…nor/not only… Then we use the verb and pronoun according to the nearest subject.
- Neither Raman nor his friends were enjoying the party (Incorrect)
- Neither Raman nor his friends were enjoying the party (Correct)
Rule 10 :
Possessive pronouns his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs and whose never take apostrophe.
- Yours truly is grammatically incorrect. Yours truly is the correct word to use.
We hope you have found this module of the series helpful.
Now, try to find out the error in the below questions and leave your answers in the comment section. we will review them.
- If I were him, I would not miss the farewell party.
- The two sisters went for the shopping with one another.
- It wasn't me who have used your car .
- All the good things are happening with Riya and me.
- Each of them has to take responsibility for their work.
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