What are Pronouns

What are Pronouns

Pronouns are one of the eight parts of speech. They can be described as words that can replace nouns. However, their role and function vary according to different contexts. In this article, we are not only going to discuss what pronouns are, but we’ll be also discussing different types of pronouns.

As mentioned above, pronouns are words that can be used to replace nouns. They can refer to nouns that have already been mentioned or about to be mentioned. This second usage is not very common (using pronouns to refer to the noun that is about to be mentioned) and has a high chance of resulting in ambiguity. For example,

Mrs. Martins is the headmistress of our school. She is very strict.

After he had finished reading the book, John returned it to the library.

Although it is said that pronouns are words that replace nouns and noun phrases, this is not true with every pronoun. This all depends on the types of pronouns. Pronouns can be of different types.

Types of Pronouns and Examples

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are the first words come to our mind when we hear the word pronoun. They are the most common type of pronouns. A personal pronoun takes various forms according to number, person, case and natural gender. The English language has two numbers (singular and plural) three persons (first, second, third). There are also two cases: subject and object. Subject pronouns are used as the subject whereas Object Pronouns are used in the object position.

                   Subject Pronouns

                    Object Pronouns











Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns indicate possession. They include mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, yours and theirs are the possessive pronouns. Many people tend to make the mistake of confusing possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives (my, your, our, etc.) the following examples will help you to understand the role of possessive pronouns.

Look at these books. Her book is really clean and neat, and your book is very untidy. 

 → Look at these books. Hers is really clean and neat, and yours is very untidy.

Is this your pen? This is not my pen.

 → Is this yours? This is not mine.What are pronouns - possessive pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns refer to specific noun antecedents. It is used to highlight something specific in a sentence. Demonstrative pronouns can indicate items in space and distance as well as singular and plural. There are only four demonstrative pronouns in English.

This – near in time and distance (singular)

The old lady sitting in front of you is my grandmother – This is my grandmother.

These – far in time and distance (plural)

The books on the nearby table are my textbooks. – These are my textbooks.

That – near in time and distance (singular)

The car parked outside is my brother’s car. – That is my brother’s car.

Those – far in time and distance (plural)

The pancakes I had yesterday morning were the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted. – Those were the best pancakes I’ve ever tasted.What are Pronouns - Demonstrative pronouns

Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns are used to add more information to a sentence. Which, whom, who, that, whose are some examples of relative pronouns.

that: This is the movie that everyone is talking about.

who: The student who answers all my questions will get a reward.

whom: This is Anna, with whom I went to school.

whose: I have a friend whose little sister is very annoying.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite Pronouns refers to a non-specific thing or person. They do not replace nouns but functions themselves as nouns. Anybody, anyone, anything, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, no one, nothing, are the most common indefinite pronouns in English. Some other determiners such as any, none, many, several, few also function as indefinite pronouns.

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative Pronouns are the pronouns that are used to ask questions. There are five interrogative pronouns.


What do you want for your birthday?


Which dress are you going to pick?


Who told you that lie?


To whom are you talking?


Whose pen is this?What are pronouns - interrogative pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are the pronouns that can be used when the subject of a sentence also receives the action of the verb. Myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, oneself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves are the reflexive pronouns in English.


 Eve cut herself.

I paid myself a salary.

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