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Describe about pronouns?


Pronouns are placeholders i.e. they take the place of a noun. Pronouns take the place of any noun in a sentence. Pronouns are regarded as essential parts of speech (Geurts, 1999).

Some of the common examples of nouns are I, me, herself, she, you, they, each, few, whose, someone, everyone, he etc.

For example:

Each of the girls sings well.

Neither of them is available to answer to your query right now.

Roger is taller than me.

Not only is Sarah a good orator, but she is also a motivational speaker.

There are basically three types of pronouns namely subject, object and possessive. Examples of subject nouns are he, she; object nouns are him, her and possessive nouns are his, her etc. Pronouns can be further segregated into personal pronouns, relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, possessive pronouns, indefinite pronouns and demonstrative pronouns (Karttunen, 1969).

Personal pronouns such as I, me, she, her, they, them, you, us etc. can be classified into person, number and case. For a person, there may be further segregation based over first, second or third person, singular and plural forms and male, female or neuter gender. Subject pronouns in such cases are used in the situations in which a person or the thing to which the pronoun is referring to is a subject in the sentence or a clause. In other case, object pronouns are generally used when the person or the thing referred is the object in the sentence.

Reflexive pronouns are generally used when the person acts on itself ending up generally in self or selves and they should refer to a noun or a noun phrase in the sentence itself. For example, Jones cut himself.


Reciprocal pronouns are used to mark a reciprocal relationship such as one another or each other. For example, These two cats do not like each other.

Possessive pronouns are used to indicate the sense of ownership or in literal terms possession. For example, Those chocolates are mine. Sometimes they are considered having a syntactic role like that of adjectives that are qualifying the nouns therefore are classified as determiners.

Demonstrative pronouns distinguish their target person or thing by placing a special mark or indication of position for them. For example, Please bring me that.

Indefinite pronouns are considered to be the largest pronoun group which is referring to unspecified and abstract things. In this category, negative pronouns refer to non existence of things (Ehrlich, 1980) and distributive pronouns refer to the members belonging to a group either collectively or individually. For example, Everyone is already present here.

Relative pronouns refer to the people or things that have been mentioned before. For example, people who smoke should quit right away. She knows what she likes.

Interrogative pronouns refer to the questions relating to the person or the thing. For example, who did this?

There are some of the rules pertaining to pronouns used in the language.

Subject pronouns are used in the places of subjects and can be easily recognized by filling the blank subject space in place of a simple sentence. For example, I/ he/ she/ they/ we/ who/ whoever did the job well.

Subject pronouns can also be used to rename the subject and they generally follow the verbs (Weerman, 2002). For example, It is we who are solely responsible for the demise of the kingdom.

When who refers to a personal pronoun then it takes a verb every time that should agree with the pronoun. For example, It is you who are mistaken.

Object pronouns are used in cases of direct objects, indirect objects, and object of a possession. For example, Are you talking to me?

The pronouns which are who, which and that can take the form of singular or plural depending on the nature of the subject (Rowland, 1992). For example, He is only one of those working men who is always on time. Here the word who refers to one and is used as singular. He is one of those working men who are always on time. Here who refers to the group of men and is used as a plural verb.

Pronouns that are singular always uses singular verbs. But in the exceptions of either or neither, this law can be overlooked. For example, Each of the boys dances well.

The possessive nouns like yours, theirs, ours, hers etc. never need apostrophe (Rooryck, 2006). They should not be used mistakenly like your’s, her’s.

Singular pronouns should stay singular throughout the structure of the sentence. For example, someone has to do this task and he or she has to do it efficiently well.



1. Geurts, B. (1999). Presuppositions and pronouns.

2. Karttunen, L. (1969). Pronouns and variables. InChicago Linguistic Society(Vol. 5, pp. 108-16).

3. Ehrlich, K. (1980). Comprehension of pronouns.The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32(2), 247-255.

4. Weerman, F., & Evers-Vermeul, J. (2002). Pronouns and case.Lingua, 112(4), 301-338.

5. Rowland, T. (1992). Pointing with pronouns.For the Learning of Mathematics, 44-48.

6. Rooryck, J. (2006). Binding into pronouns.Lingua, 116(10), 1561-1579.
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