- deictic words that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others.
- a function word used for the item questioned in a question.
- a part of grammar that relate to objects of a sentence, usually (but not always), people or animals.
- a part of speech that attributes ownership to someone or something.
- a pronoun that marks a relative clause within a larger sentence.
List of Pronouns
Below is a nearly exhaustive list of English pronouns. They are personal, demonstrative, indefinite, intensive, interrogative, and reflexive (not in alphabetical order yet):
- no one
Indefinite pronouns refer to nonspecific persons or things. They include:
- no one
Personal pronouns are the most commonly used pronouns.
- Singular personal pronouns: I, me, you, he, him, she, her, it
- Plural personal pronouns: we, us, you, they, them
Example: John baked a cake for Eileen = He baked it for her.
Possessive pronouns are personal pronouns that show ownership or possession.
- Singular possessive pronouns: my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its
- Plural possessive pronouns: our, ours, your, yours, their, theirs
Example: I found John's hat = I found his hat.
Demonstrative pronouns call attention to their antecedents. An antecedent is the word or words to which a pronoun refers.
- Singular demonstrative pronouns: this, that
- Plural demonstrative pronouns: these, those
Example: The yellow car is his = That is his car.
Reflexive pronouns reflect the action back to the noun or pronoun that has just been named (ends in -self or -selves).
- Singular reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, herself...
- Plural reflexive pronouns: ourselves, themselves, yourselves
Example: I will find it myself.
Hint: When a pronoun is used in a sentence, it should always be clear to what or to whom the pronoun is referring. Too many pronouns in a sentence can be very confusing:
He went there to do that, but she didn't know where he was.
The following are examples of archaic second person singular pronoun in English (they were used wherever we would say you to indicate only one person):
- Thou wast in the next room. (one person, subject)
- Ye were in the next room. (several people, subject)
- I saw thee in the next room. (one person, object)
- I saw you in the next room (several people, object)
- That is thy room. (one person, possessive)
- That is your room. (several people, possessive)
- That room is thine. (one person, predicate possessive)
- That room is yours. (several people, predicate possessive)
- I saw thee and thy friend John getting into a car.
- Wast thou going somewhere with him?
- I saw thee sitting behind the wheel, so I thought thou wert (or thou wast) the driver.
- Was the car his or thine?
- I didn't know thou hadst thy license.
A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun; as, "John gave his pen to James and he lent it to Jane to write her copy with it." Without the pronouns we would have to write this sentence,—"John gave John's pen to James and James lent the pen to Jane to write Jane's copy with the pen."
There are three kinds of pronouns—Personal, Relative and Adjective Pronouns.
Personal Pronouns are so called because they are used instead of the names of persons, places and things. The Personal Pronouns are I, Thou, He, She, and It, with their plurals, We, Ye or You and They.
I is the pronoun of the first person because it represents the person speaking.
Thou is the pronoun of the second person because it represents the person spoken to.
He, She, It are the pronouns of the third person because they represent the persons or things of whom we are speaking.
Like nouns, the Personal Pronouns have number, gender and case. The gender of the first and second person is obvious, as they represent the person or persons speaking and those who are addressed. The personal pronouns are thus declined:
* First Person. M. or F. Sing. Plural. N. I We P. Mine Ours O. Me Us * Second Person. M. or F. Sing. Plural. N. Thou You P. Thine Yours O. Thee You * Third Person. M. Sing. Plural. N. He They P. His Theirs O. Him Them * Third Person. F. Sing. Plural. N. She They P. Hers Theirs O. Her Them * Third Person. Neuter. Sing. Plural. N. It They P. Its Theirs O. It Them
N. B.—In colloquial language and ordinary writing Thou, Thine and Thee are seldom used, except by the Society of Friends. The Plural form You is used for both the nominative and objective singular in the second person and Yours is generally used in the possessive in place of Thine.
The Relative Pronouns are so called because they relate to some word or phrase going before; as, "The boy who told the truth;" "He has done well, which gives me great pleasure."
Here who and which are not only used in place of other words, but who refers immediately to boy, and which to the circumstance of his having done well.
The word or clause to which a relative pronoun refers is called the Antecedent.
The Relative Pronouns are who, which, that and what.
Who is applied to persons only; as, "The man who was here."
Which is applied to the lower animals and things without life; as, "The horse which I sold." "The hat which I bought."
That is applied to both persons and things; as, "The friend that helps." "The bird that sings." "The knife that cuts."
What is a compound relative, including both the antecedent and the relative and is equivalent to that which; as, "I did what he desired," i. e. "I did that which he desired."
Relative pronouns have the singular and plural alike.
Who is either masculine or feminine; which and that are masculine, feminine or neuter; what as a relative pronoun is always neuter.
That and what are not inflected.
Who and which are thus declined:
Sing. and Plural Sing. and Plural N. Who N. Which P. Whose P. Whose O. Whom O. Which
Who, which and what when used to ask questions are called Interrogative Pronouns.
- Adjective Pronouns partake of the nature of adjectives and pronouns and are subdivided as follows:
- Demonstrative Adjective Pronouns which directly point out the person or object
- this, that with their plurals these, those, and yon, same and selfsame.
- Distributive Adjective Pronouns used distributively
- each, every, either, neither.
- Indefinite Adjective Pronouns used more or less indefinitely
- any, all, few, some, several, one, other, another, none.
- Possessive Adjective Pronouns denoting possession
- my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, their.
N. B.—(The possessive adjective pronouns differ from the possessive case of the personal pronouns in that the latter can stand alone while the former cannot. "Who owns that book?" "It is mine." You cannot say "it is my,"—the word book must be repeated.)