Pronouns in English

What are pronouns in English?

Pronouns are the words like he,she,you etc. which can be used in place of nouns or noun phrases. For example, Rahul is a teacher and he likes to teach. We have used “he” as a pronoun so we don’t have to use Rahul again. In that way, pronouns in English save us from using nouns again and again.

There are various types of pronouns in English and their usage are also different.

In this article, we will learn about various types of pronouns in English and know how to use them.

Read on to know about all the types of pronouns in English for improving your English language skills.


Have you learnt about parts of speech? Do that before you learn nouns or pronouns, it will surely help. Click to learn.


How many types of pronouns are there?

Mainly, there are 7 types of pronouns though there can be some more subtypes but the below given classification is enough for general study of English for competitive exams.

1. Personal pronouns

Which is further divided into two types.

( a ) Subjective pronouns

( b ) Objective pronouns

2. Possessive pronouns

3. Reflexive pronouns

4. Demonstrative pronouns

5. Indefinite pronouns

6. Relative pronouns

7. Interrogative pronouns


Now, let’s learn more about all these types of pronouns.

1. Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns are used to refer to particular person/persons, thing/things, number/numbers or animal/animals etc. They refer to a grammatical person which can be a man, a boy, a girl, a woman or even a dog or a chair. We have tabulated a proper classification of all the personal pronouns which will help you in understanding of personal pronouns. Before moving to the table, know some basic things about personal pronouns.

Personal pronouns are of two types. Subjective pronouns and objective pronouns.

They are also divided into singular and plural person and also in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person.

Now, the below given table would help you in understanding all the types of personal pronouns and for which gender and person they are used.

PersonGenderSubjectiveObjective
1st SingularMale/FemaleIMe
2nd SingularMale/FemaleYouYou
3rd SingularMaleHeHim
3rd SingularFemaleSheHer
3rd SingularNeuterItIt
1st PluralMale/FemaleWeUs
2nd PluralMale/FemaleYouYou
3rd PluralMale/FemaleTheyThem

2. Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership or belongingness over something. E.g. my, mine, yours etc.

Possessive pronouns for various subjects are as below. I have also added reflexive pronouns in the given table which are explained in point no.3.

SubjectPossessive Adjective/DeterminerPossessive PronounsReflexive Pronouns
Imyminemyself
Weouroursourselves
You (Singular)youryoursYourself
You (Plural)youryoursYourselves
Hehishishimself
Sheherhersherself
Ititsitsitself
Theytheirtheirsthemselves

I would also suggest you to strengthen your vocabulary while you are learning pronouns in English. To do that, I suggest you to study from ” Word power made easy” by Norman Lewis. That book explains nicely about how words are formed and what are the roots/prefixes/suffixes of some popular words and how to make many words in English by using them.

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Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis


3. Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object refer to the same person in the sentence. For example, I asked a question to myself. Here, the subject is asking a question to himself and so “myself” is a reflexive pronoun. As you have seen in the above table, reflexive pronouns end with self for singular subjects and selves for plural pronouns.

Study the above given table to learn and remember all the reflexive pronouns.


4. Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are used to represent or identify something or things and they come at the place of noun phrase. Demonstrative pronouns are also used to point something in the sentence. There are four demonstrative pronouns.

This, These, That, Those

– This (singular) and These (Plural) are used for near and present things.

– That (singular) and Those (plural) are used for far and past/future things.

Examples.

– This is cold.
– These are good.
– What was that?
– Those were hot days.

– It’s also a great time to learn about Demonstrative adjectives along with Demonstrative pronouns in English.

This, These, That and Those are also demonstrative adjective. The main difference between the demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns is that demonstrative adjectives are used to qualify a particular noun and they are usually followed by noun. Check the below given two sentences to understand the difference between demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjective.

e.g. That man is very angry. (demonstrative adjective)
e.g. This is very good. (demonstrative pronoun)


5. Mass nouns

Mass nouns are used to identify the things which can’t be counted and generally don’t have plural forms. Many of our day to day use things like foods, drinks etc. are mass nouns.

E.g. milk, water, wood, gold, iron, coffee


6. Collective nouns

When one word is used to identify a group of people, animals, items etc., such word is known as a collective noun.
Examples of collective noun are: a team, an army, a group, a herd.

You know that there are more than one member in a team yet a team is a singular word to describe them all. A library can contain thousands of books and still it is called a library, a single word which is also a singular.


7. Concrete nouns

Concrete nouns can be used to describe or identify those things which we can see, listen, smell, touch or taste. These are the things which can be felt through our senses and have physical existence. The words to identify these things are called concrete nouns.

E.g. Mango is a concrete noun as we can see, smell and taste it while happiness is not a concrete noun as we can only feel it in heart and so it would be an abstract noun about which we will study in the next point.


Click here to learn examples of Time and Work.


8. Abstract nouns

Abstract nouns refer to ideas, feelings, state of mind, concepts and many other such things which can only be felt or understood in heart or mind. You can’t detect them with your senses as they are not physical or concrete items. You can also say that the nouns which are not concrete are abstract nouns and vice versa.

E.g. joy, hope, honesty, bravery, sadness, trust


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