What is a Pronoun?

Pronoun is the important part of English Grammar. A Pronoun is a word which replaces a noun. It is included in sub-category of a noun.

For example:

We may say,

Rita is eating, because Rita is hungry.

But, the noun Rita sounds repetitive. So, instead we can say

Rita is eating, because she is hungry.

This elucidates the definition of a pronoun, i.e.

A word that is thus used instead of a noun is called a Pronoun. (Pronoun means for-a-noun.)

To make you understand better:

Noun: Satish is an ace skater.

Pronoun: He is an ace skater.

Noun: Pratik loves to play badminton.

Pronoun: He loves to play badminton.

Noun:  Bill Gates is the one of the richest man.

Pronoun: He is one of the richest man.


He says, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

This sentence here, doesn’t explain who is he in the sentence? It doesn’t make complete sense of what we are trying to say.

Here is where the Antecedent comes. An antecedent is a noun that a pronoun is replacing or referring to.

Now, let’s clear that question arising out of your mind. Here goes the sentence,

Mark Zuckerberg is the Founder of Facebook- a social networking platform.

He says, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk.”

Now, this sentence makes perfect sense of whom we were talking as it contains the antecedent ‘he’ which is referring to Mark Zuckerberg. However, not all pronouns have antecedents.

Someone was hiding behind that pole.

This information here is incomplete as you don’t know who that someone is. It could be anyone, any person and hence, that gives you the authority to use it according to your judgment and to your advantage.

Types of Pronouns:

Below are the various types of pronouns with their description and a few examples to get a better understanding of the same.

Personal Pronouns:

  • I am thirsty.
  • You are beautiful.
  • She (he, it) has gained a lot of weight.
  • We are watching the stars.
  • They are dancing on the floor.

I, you, she, (he, it), we, they are called as Personal Pronouns because they stand for the three persons which are:

  1. the person speaking.
  2. the person spoken to, and
  • the person spoken of

Personal Pronouns can also be stated by:

Number: which states whether the pronoun is singular or plural?

Gender: which states whether it is

Masculine – he

Feminine – she, or

Neuter – it

For example: ‘he’ (in the above instance) is the third person, singular and masculine while ‘they’ denotes third person, plural and neuter.

If the thief is caught, he will be sent to jail.

Birds build their nests in trees.

When I saw the child it was crying.

Relative Pronouns:

I met Sejal who had just returned.

In the above example, the word ‘who’ refers to Sejal and is being used as a pronoun and it also connects two sentences into one.

These are called as relative pronouns as it refers or relates to some noun going before (in this case, Sejal) which is called its antecedent.

Some common relative pronouns are:

Who, which, that, whom, whose

For example:

Here is the money that you lent me.

I have found the watch which I lost.

This is the boy who works hard. 

Interrogative Pronouns:

Who stole my chocolates?

Here, ‘who’ plays a similar role as relative pronouns does with a slight change i.e. Interrogative Pronouns ask questions.

Some common interrogative pronouns are:

Who, whom, which, what, whose

Some examples:

What do you want?

How was your day?

What happened to your shirt? 

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns:

We ate by ourselves.

Here, when ‘self’ is added to ‘our’, then they are called as reflexive pronouns.

Reflexive Pronouns are when the action done by the subject turns back (reflects) upon the subject.

Intensive Pronouns are used for the sake of emphasis.

She achieved her goal all by herself.

Some common examples:

The dog hurt itself.

The village itself is not very large. 

Possessive Pronouns:

That car is hers.

Here, ‘hers’ denotes possession and therefore these pronouns are called as Possessive Pronouns.

Some of the possessive pronouns are:

Your, theirs, his, hers

Also, when possessive pronouns are used before nouns they are called as Possessive Adjectives.

That is her car.

Some examples:

That dance of yours was excellent

This house is mine

His phone is very expensive 

Demonstrative Pronouns:

That is the Taj Mahal.

Here, ‘that’ demonstrates some place or thing and that is why it is called as Demonstrative Pronoun. These pronouns are used to point out to particular places or things.

Some of the demonstrative pronouns are:

That, this, those, these

Also, sometimes they are used before nouns which makes them Demonstrative Adjectives as adjectives describe the nouns.

All such negative people ought to be avoided.

Some examples:

These are merely excuses.

This is a gift from my friend.

Nagpur Oranges are better than those of Bangalore. 

Indefinite Pronouns:

Somebody stole my phone.

Here, ‘somebody’ refers to no-one in particular i.e. it refers to people in general or a certain person whose identity is unknown which makes it an indefinite pronoun.

Some of the indefinite pronouns are:

Anyone, someone, nobody, few, others, anybody, everybody, many, one, none, they, all, them.

Most of these words are also used as adjectives. Whenever they are used before nouns they are termed as adjectives.

I will take you there one day.

Some examples:

One or other of us will be there.

Many of them wore Burkhas.

Do good to others.

A little practice here & there each day and you will learn how to use these pronouns in your daily routine effectively, smoothly & easily. You can learn step-by-step each & every part of speech under the expert guidance of qualified mentors from WizMantra.

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