Wednesday , May 27 2020
Figures of Speech

What Is A Pronoun

This article is about pronouns, list of pronouns, examples of pronouns, types of pronouns and usage of pronouns. Well, isn’t it a little annoying to read out the above line? The way the underlined word is repeated over and over again here, makes the line look rather ineffective and, let’s be honest, quite annoying. This is where the concept of pronouns gains prominence. A pronoun is that part of speech in English grammar that replaces the noun at certain places. These words take shape with words like he, she, it, they, someone, who, etc and are used in place of nouns. Take, for instance, this sentence without pronouns: “John is my colleague. John says that John likes to sleep more than anything.” This same sentence when written with the help of pronouns is: “John is my colleague. He says that he likes to sleep more than play.” Here ‘John’ is substituted with ‘he’ which makes the sentence look neat and organized without compromising on the meaning of the statement. A pronoun is used in place of a noun, a noun phrase or a different pronoun. They are used in writing and in regular speech as a way of maintaining the flow of the lines by avoiding the repetition of a subject or object word. Use of pronouns helps in keeping a sentence from becoming clumsy and tiresome-it performs a noun’s job to keep sentences unambiguous.

Pronoun Usage

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns stand in place of names of people or things. They are straightforward forms of pronouns and can be further classified into:

  • Subjective Pronouns
  • Objective Pronouns
  • Prepositional Pronouns
  • Disjunctive Pronouns
  • Weak Pronouns

Subjective Pronouns

These pronouns are used in place of the subject used in the clause. For example: ‘She works in London’. ‘I like to eat chips’. ‘They bought a new car last month.’ These subjective pronouns can be further classified as:

  • Second Person Formal & Informal Pronouns — These pronouns were common in the Shakespearean era. Here, words like ‘thou’, ‘thy’, etc. are used. Examples of these pronouns can be Oh thy bleeding piece of earth! O Wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being…
  • Inclusive & Exclusive Pronouns — These pronouns help us find whether the audience is included or not. Examples can be as follows:  We have a party to attend this evening. They have not given a clear picture of what happened to us.
  • Intensive Pronouns — These pronouns are also known as emphatic pronouns since they re-emphasize a noun which is already referred to in the sentence. Examples can be as follows: You yourself are responsible for this mess! I did it myself

Objective Pronouns

They are used when a noun is used as an object in the sentence. Personal objective pronouns are: me, you, him, it, us, etc. For example: ‘John likes me but not her.’ ‘She asked him to help with the work.’

  • Direct & Indirect Object Pronouns — The direct and indirect pronouns are used to explain a sentence in the same form. For example:
  • Mary loves him – direct object; Mary sent him a letter – indirect object
  •  Reflexive Pronouns — these pronouns are used when they refer back to another word in the sentence or when the thing acts on itself. Examples are:
  • Krish cut his hand himself.
  • I worked myself to the bone.
  •  Reciprocal Pronouns — these pronouns refer to an interchangeable relationship or action. Examples are:
  • Rita and John do not like each other.
  • The two sisters have love on one another.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are those which help indicate ownership or belongingness of a thing to someone. These pronouns do not require apostrophes unless the word in question is a contraction of it is and it has, in which case the word becomes it’s. For example: ‘Those shoes are mine’. ‘Look over there, those seats are yours.’

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are normally used to point out things or to distinguish a particular object from the rest. For example: ‘Mary will take these forms back home.’, ‘Bring me that cup’.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite, in very simple and obvious terms, means something that is not definite. These pronouns refer to general categories of people and nothing specific or particular. For example: ‘Someone can solve it if they know the right way’. ‘Everyone looked at me.’

  • Distributive pronouns — They are used to refer to groups of members separately rather than collectively.
  • To each his own.
  • Each boy was given a present.
  • Negative pronouns — These pronouns refer to the non-existence of a person or a thing. For example:
  • No one is thinking of attending that marriage.
  • Nobody wants to stay alone at home during festivals.

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns help refer to previously mentioned things or people. These pronouns help in linking two clauses and begin with a subordinate clause. For example: ‘He is a professor who works in Cambridge University.’ ‘I hate that tree which gives out sticky smells.’

Interrogative Pronouns 

These interrogative pronouns are usually found in questions. They are used to ask questions or what the thing is meant. For example: ‘Which jacket should I wear?’, ‘What are you staring for?’

Pronouns make written texts look short and crisp and also work towards making spoken language more interesting and organised. These parts of speech, when used effectively, do not make the phrase ambiguous or out of place; these only add meaning and value to the expression. It’s tiresome to use a word several times and use of these pronouns avoids such repetition of nouns.

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