What is a Pronoun? Types of Pronouns with examples

Nouns make an important part of our sentences. They act as subjects and objects and help us form sentences correctly. But sometimes, a noun may not perfectly suit a sentence. This is when the need to use pronouns arises.

We use pronouns every day while speaking or conversing. They are used as substitutes for other nouns. To be more precise, you use pronouns when the reader or listener already knows what noun you are talking about. 

For example, you might say, “I have a cat. He is black.” In the second sentence, you no longer need to clarify to the other person that you are talking about your cat as you have already mentioned in the first sentence. Using “I have a cat” with “black in colour” is grammatically incorrect. But the pronoun “he” can easily be paired with the phrase “black in colour” to make a full and proper sentence. 

Pronouns are more versatile and a major part of speech. With the correct usage of pronouns, you can improve the style of your writing and speech. To be able to use pronouns correctly, you need to first know the different types that exist.

If you are interested in learning more about pronouns and their types, you should give this article a read. In this post, we will cover everything from what is a pronoun to types of pronouns. So without wasting any time, let’s get into the details.

What is a pronoun?

Before we discuss types of pronouns, you need to first understand “what is a pronoun.”

To put it in simple words, a pronoun is a word that is used as a substitute for a noun or noun phrase. A pronoun can be freely used to replace a noun in a sentence. The noun that is replaced by a pronoun is called an antecedent. For example, in the sentence, “I love my cat because he is a good boy,” the word “he” is a pronoun, which is used in place of the noun “cat.”

Pronouns refer to a noun that has already been mentioned in a sentence. You can also use pronouns for a noun that does not need to be named specifically.

The advantage of using pronouns is that it helps us to shorten our sentences and also construct a sentence in a better way. You should use pronouns to make your sentences sound less repetitive. For example, “The carpenter is making the furniture. The carpenter is making good progress. The carpenter should finish making the furniture on time.”

Here, you can replace the word “carpenter” with the pronoun “he/she” from the second sentence onwards. This will make the second set of sentences sound better and also shorten them.

“The carpenter is making the furniture. He/she is making good progress. He/she should finish making the furniture on time.”

The most common type of pronouns is the personal pronouns, which refer to the person or people writing or speaking, (first person), the person or people being mentioned or spoken to (second person), or other people or things (third person).

Like nouns, personal pronouns can also function both as a subject of a verb or the object of a verb or preposition. For example “He likes her, but she loves him.” Most personal pronouns have different subject and object forms.

After going through the above explanation, the definition of what is a pronoun should be clear. We will be going deep into this topic in the next section. But, before that, go through the pronoun list below:

List of pronouns

We use a bunch of different pronouns in our speech and writing. The list given below contains the most common pronouns that we use in our everyday sentences.

  • He
  • She
  • I
  • You
  • We
  • It
  • Me
  • Us
  • Them
  • Who
  • What
  • This
  • That
  • They
  • Who
  • Him
  • Her
  • Something
  • Whoever
  • Anyone
  • Nobody

Pronoun examples

Here are some examples to show how different pronouns are used in sentences:

  • We went to Britney’s house, but she wasn’t there.
  • This is the best day ever!
  • I took my phone to the technician to get it fixed.
  • Someone knocked on my door last night.
  • James thinks that mayonnaise tastes good with anything.

Types of Pronouns

Pronouns

Now that you already know what a pronoun is, let’s talk about the different types of pronouns. We will also give pronoun examples, so it becomes easier for you to understand.

The different types of pronouns include:

1. Personal pronouns

This is the most common type of pronoun we use in our sentences. It refers to a particular person or thing. Their form changes to indicate a person, gender, case, or number.

  • Subjective personal pronouns

This is the type of pronoun that acts as the subject of a sentence. This includes I, you, he, she, you, it, and they

For example: 

“I walked directly to the park.”

“She thought you had forgotten; we know you were just behind.”

“You came late; he was annoyed.” 

  • Objective personal pronouns

These pronouns act as the object of a sentence. This includes me, you, him, her, us, your, it, and them

For example:

“The teacher called my sister and me.” 

“Has anyone met him?”

“There is nobody like us.” 

  • Possessive personal pronouns

Possessive personal pronouns are the ones that show possession. They are used to define a person or a group of people who own a particular object. This includes hers, his, mine, yours, its, ours, and theirs

For example:

“Is this pencil yours?”

“Nobody’s house has as many flower plants as theirs.”

“All the books are mine.”

2. Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are used to identify or point to a noun or a pronoun. Like this and these are used to refer to things that are nearby in time or space. On the other hand, that and those are used for things that are farther away in time or space.

For example:

“This is my phone that I bought yesterday.”

“Those books are not mine.”

“These questions are easy.”

3. Interrogative pronouns

We use interrogative pronouns while asking questions. This includes whowhat whom, and which. We use who and whom to refer people. Which is used to refer to animals and things. On the other hand, who acts as the subject, while whom serves as the object. 

For example:

“What did she tell you?”

“Which is the best coffee?”

“Whom should we invite?”

4. Relative pronouns

We use relative pronouns to link one clause or phrase to another clause or phrase. This includes whowhich, whom, and that. The compounds whoever, whichever, and whoever are also used as relative pronouns.

For example:

“Whoever made the dish made a mistake.”

“The bag, which had all my belongings, went missing.”

“The person who served us doesn’t know how to add.”

5. Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are used for an unspecified person or thing. It conveys the idea of any, all, none, or some. This includes all, anyone, anything, another, any, anybody, each, few, many, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, none, one, several, some, somebody, and someone

For example:

“Everybody is absent today.”

“Somebody didn’t show up.”

“We have only a few apples.”

6. Intensive pronouns

Intensive pronouns are used to emphasize their antecedent. They are identical in form to reflexive pronouns. 

For example:

“I myself love to eat fish.”

“You yourself should tell everyone the truth.”

“They themselves know what they are talking about.”

7. Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used to refer back to the subject of the sentence or clause. This includes myself,  herself, himself, yourself, itself, yourselves, ourselves, and themselves

For example:

“He builds a house for himself.”

“We decided to go to the park ourselves.”

“They should be ashamed of themselves.”

8. Reciprocal pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are used to show an action that is performed by two or more nouns together. There exist only two reciprocal pronouns: each other and one another. These reciprocal pronouns have a significant role in English. They can be used in different ways.

For example:

“My parents love each other.”

“Respect one another in this house.”

Singular & Plural Pronouns: Pronouns can also be used as singular or plural.

  • Singular pronouns

Singular pronouns are used to refer to a single person or thing. You need to use singular verbs with singular pronouns.

For example:

 I, he, she, it, one, this, something, someone, anyone, nobody

She never gets a single question wrong.

This is the best chicken I have ever eaten.

  • Plural pronouns

Plural pronouns are used to refer to multiple people or things and must be used with plural verbs.

We, ourselves, themselves, they, us, them, these, many, those, several, others, etc.

For example:

“We go to school every day.”

“These chips are not as good as those ones.”

9. Distributive pronouns

This type of pronouns is used to refer to people, animals, objects as individuals within larger groups. It helps you to single out individuals while acknowledging them as a part of a larger group. This includes each, either, neither, any, and none.

For example:

“All of my friends participated in the game and none of them won.”

“Cakes and chocolates are available for dessert. Neither is appealing to me.”

How to reach pronoun agreement?

When using a pronoun, it must agree in number with its antecedent. To put it in simple words, a singular noun can only be replaced by a singular pronoun. The same applies in the case of a plural pronoun

For Example:

“The football rolled until it hit the door.”

In this sentence, we are using a singular pronoun like it to replace a singular noun like football.

Here are a few things to keep in mind

  • Pronouns everyoneeverybodyeverything, and everywhere are treated as singular pronouns.
  • Some pronouns can be used as either singular or plural. 

For example:

“You are my best friend.”

“You are my best friends.”

Based on the singular word “friend” in the first sentence, we know that “you” is singular. In the second sentence, we know that “you” is plural because of the plural word “friends.”

Pronouns and Gender Identity

You might have seen some of your friends mention their pronouns on their social media profiles or email signature. You might have been asked to mention your pronouns on your own.

Traditionally the personal pronouns she/her/hers and he/him/his were used for individuals based on their sex. But today, pronoun usage has widened and has become more descriptive.

Many people use gender-neutral pronouns. For example: they/them/theirs. This is because they feel these gender-neutral pronouns express their gender identity more accurately. The most commonly used gender-neutral pronoun is they. 

You will come across many people who use their pronouns as they. The English language is constantly evolving. Today, new types of singular third-person pronouns are used to refer to people without reference to their gender.

Final Words about Pronouns

Pronouns play an important role in our speech. All the types of pronouns in use have a role to play in the English language. To learn how to speak English fluently, the pronoun is one of the things that you need to learn properly.

FAQs about Pronouns

What is a pronoun and an example of a pronoun? 

  • pronoun is a word that is used in the place of a noun. Example: “Tony is a good boy. He respects his parents.”

What are the 20 examples of pronouns?

  • 20 examples of pronouns are I, me, you, he, she, it, we, they, us, them, who, what, this, that, anyone, nobody, something, him, her, each other, etc.

What are my pronouns?

  • She, her, hers and he, him, his are the most commonly used pronouns. There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use.

What are the 4 gender pronouns?

  • The 4 gender pronouns are he, she, him, and her.

Examples of gender pronouns in sentences

  • Tony was really good at skateboarding. He even won a trophy!
  • He is my friend.
  • She is a really good person.
  • They are talkative. 
  • Rose is my best friend. She is very kind.
  • All of my friends are from Texas. I love them.
  • I like my teacher! He’s pretty cool.
  • My cat doesn’t like to get in the tub. So, I don’t make him.
  • That tree has been here for decades. It’s very old.
  • That man over there is wearing a cowboy hat. His hat is brown.

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