Pronouns

Pronouns
Definition: A pronoun usually refers to something already mentioned in a sentence or piece of text. A pronoun is a word that substitutes a noun or noun phrase used to prevent repetition of the noun to which they refer. One of the most common pronouns is it.
Rule for Pronouns
A pronoun must agree with the noun it refer. Therefore, if the noun is singular, therefore the pronoun must be singular; if the noun is plural, use a plural pronoun; if the noun is feminine, use a feminine pronoun, and so on.
For example:
  • The train was late, it had been delayed.
  • The trains were late, they had been delayed.
Types of pronouns
English Pronouns are divided into sub-categories. These are Demonstrative, Personal, Reflexive, Possessive, Interrogative, Negative, Reciprocal, Relative and Quantifier
Type
About
Example
Personal Pronoun
Takes the place of a specific or named person or thing.
I, you, he, she, etc..
Reflexive Pronoun
Adds information by pointing back to a noun or another pronoun.
myself, yourself, etc..
Demonstrative Pronoun
Points out a specific person, place, or thing.
this, that, these, those
Relative pronoun
Begins a subordinate clause and relates the clause to a word in the main clause.
who, whose, which, that, etc..
Interrogative Pronoun
Is used to ask a question.
who, what, where, etc..
Possessive Pronoun
Used to substitute a noun and to show possession or ownership.
mine, yours, his, etc..
Negative Pronoun
nothing, no, nobody, etc..
Reciprocal pronoun
Express an interchangeable or mutual action or relationship.
each other, one another
Quantifier
some, any, something, much, etc.


Personal Pronoun
Definition: Personal pronouns refer to the person who is doing the action or to whom the action affects. In that way we distinguish two types of personal pronouns: Personal "Subject Pronouns" and Personal "Object Pronouns".
Personal Pronouns
Subject form
Object form
I
Me
You
You
He
him
she
her
it
it
we
us
you
you
they
them
Personal Subject Pronouns
We use the Personal Subject Pronouns to refer to the person who is doing the action of the verb or the verb speaks about. A subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the sentence.
For example:
  • Jhon is listening to music.
    => He listens to music every day.
    * In this case, "he" substitutes "Jhon" which is the subject of the sentence.
  • Are you the delegates from Malagawatch?
  • After many years, they returned to their homeland.
Personal Object Pronouns
We use the Personal Object Pronouns to refer to the person whom the action of the verbs affects. An objective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object of a verb, compound verb, preposition, or infinitive phrase.
For example:
  • Seamus stole the selkie's skin and forced her to live with him.
    * The objective personal pronoun "her" is the direct object of the verb "forced" and the objective personal pronoun "him" is the object of the preposition "with."
  • Deborah and Roberta will meet us at the newest cafĂ© in the market.
    * Here the objective personal pronoun "us" is the direct object of the compound verb "will meet."
  • Christopher was surprised to see her at the drag races.
    * Here the objective personal pronoun "her" is the object of the infinitive phrase "to see."
A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing and changes its form to indicate person, number, gender, and case.

Reflexive Pronoun
Definition: We use the reflexive pronouns to indicate that the person who realizes the action of the verb is the same person who receives the action. Reflexive pronouns are identical in form to intensive pronouns.
Subject
Reflexive
Singular
I
You
He
She
It
myself
yourself
himself
herself
itself
Plural
We
You
They
ourselves
yourselves
themselves
For example:
  • I cut my hair myself.
    * In this example "I" does the action of cutting the hair and at the same time "I" gets the action of the hair being cut.
  • We defended ourselves brilliantly.
    * In this example the reflexive pronoun "ourselves" refers back to the subject of the sentence.
  • John talks to himself when he is nervous.
    * In this example "Himself" refers to John.
Reflexive pronouns always act as objects not subjects, and they require an interaction between the subject and an object.
For example:
  • Because she was not hungry when the cake was served, Ellen saved herself a piece.
    * In the independent clause, "Ellen" is the subject and "herself" is a reflexive pronoun acting as the indirect object. This sentence is grammatically correct.
  • Jhon and myself are going to the movie.
    * In this sentence, "Jhon" and "myself" are the subjects. Reflexive pronouns cannot be subjects. This sentence is grammatically incorrect.
Care must be taken to identify whether the noun is singular or plural and choose the pronoun accordingly.
For example:
  • Nor is she shy about giving herself credit for it.
  • We gave ourselves a second chance to complete the course.
  • Did they lock themselves out of the house again?
  • Give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.
Note: The reflexive pronoun can also be used to give more emphasis to the subject or object (intensive pronoun).
For example:
  • I did it myself.
    * I want to emphasise the fact that I did it.
Examples:
  • He washed himself.
  • She looked at herself in the mirror.
  • Diabetics give themselves insulin shots several times a day.
  • After the party, I asked myself why I had faxed invitations to everyone in my office building.
  • Richard usually remembered to send a copy of his e-mail to himself.
Demonstrative pronoun
Definition: Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that point to specific things. "This, that, these, those, none and neither" are Demonstrative Pronouns that substitute nouns when the nouns they replace can be understood from the context. At the same time, to indicate whether they are close or far, in space or time, from the speaker in the moment of speaking. They also indicate whether they are replacing singular or plural words. Some grammars describe them as members of the class of function words called "determiners", since they identify nouns and other nominals.
  • "This" (singular) and "These" (plural) refer to an object or person NEAR the speaker.
  • "That" (singular) and "Those" (plural) refer to an object or person further AWAY.
For example:
  • This is unbelievable.
    * In this example, "this" can refer to an object or situation close in space or in time to the speaker.
  • That is unbelievable.
    * In this example, "that" can refer to an object or situation farther in space or in time to the speaker.
  • These are unbelievable.
    * In this example, "these" can refer to some objects close in space or in time to the speaker.
  • Those are unbelievable.
    * In this example, "those" can refer to some objects farther in space or in time to the speaker.
Position
  • Before the noun.
  • Before the word 'one'.
  • Before an adjective + noun.
  • Alone when the noun is 'understood'
Examples
  • Who owns that house? (distant - physical )
  • Is this John's house? (near - physical )
  • That's nothing to do with me.. (distant - psychological )
  • This is a nice surprise! (near - psychological )

this, that, these and those

Why do we use this and these?

We use this (singular) and these (plural) as pronouns:
- to talk about people or things near us:
This is a nice cup of tea.
Whose shoes are these?
- to introduce people:
This is Janet.
These are my friends, John and Michael.
WARNING:
We don’t say These are John and Michael.
We say This is John and this is Michael.
- to introduce ourselves to begin a conversation on the phone:
Hello, this is David, Can I speak to Sally?

Why do we use that and those?

We use that (singular) and those (plural):
- to talk about things that are not near us:
What’s that?
This is our house, and that’s Rebecca’s house over there.
Those are very expensive shoes.
- We also use that to refer back to something someone said or did:
  • - Shall we go to the cinema?
    - Yes, that’s a good idea.
  • - I’ve got a new job.
    - That’s great.
  • - I’m very tired.
    - Why is that?

this, these, that, those with nouns

We also use this, these, that and those with nouns to show proximity
We use this and these for people or things near us:
We have lived in this house for twenty years.
Have you read all of these books?
… and that and those for things that are not near us:
Who lives in that house?
Who are those people?
Relative Pronoun
Definition: We use the relative pronouns to refer to a noun mentioned before and of which we are adding more information. They are used to join two or more sentences and forming in that way what we call "relative sentences".
Relative pronouns
Who, Whom, That, Which
whoever, whomever, whichever
For example:
  • People who speak two languages are called bilingual.
    * In this example, the relative "who" introduces the relative sentence "speak two languages" that describes or gives more information about the noun "people".
Relative pronouns: Subject or Object
As the relative pronouns relate to another noun preceding it in the sentence, they connect a dependent clause to an antecedent (a noun that precedes the pronoun.) Therefore, relative pronouns acts as the subject or object of the dependent clause.
For example:
  • The chef who won the competition studied in Paris.
    * Here, "who" relates back to (or is relative to) the noun "Chef". "Who" also acts as the subject of the dependent clause and the verb "won".
    => The dependent clause: who won the competition.
    => The independent clause: The chef studied in Paris.
  • The shirt that Carl bought has a stain on the pocket.
    * Here, "that" relates back to (or is relative to) the noun "shirt". "That" is also the object of the verb "bought".
    => The dependent clause is: that Carl bought.
    => The independent clause: The shirt has a stain on the pocket.
Referring to people: Who, Whom, Whoever, Whomever
These pronouns take a different case depending on whether the relative pronoun is a subject or an object in the dependent clause.
  1. Subjective case
    Use the subjective case when these relative pronouns are the subject (initiating the action) of the dependent clause: Who, Whoever
For example:
    • Negotiations were not going smoothly between the two leaders, who made no bones about not liking each other.
      * "Who" relates back to the noun "leaders" and is the subject of the dependent clause and the verb "made".
    • Most workers, whoever was not employed by the auto manufacturer, toiled at one of the millions of little minnow companies.
      * "Whoever" relates back to the noun "workers" and is the subject of the dependent clause and the verb "was employed".
  1. Objective case
    Use the objective case when these relative pronouns are the object (receiving the action) of the dependent clause: Whom, Whomever
For example:
    • This is the approach taken by journalists, whom some consider to be objective.
      * "Whom" relates back to the noun "journalists" and is the object of the verb "consider". The subject of the dependent clause is "some".
    • The three representatives, whomever the committee chooses, should be at the meeting tomorrow.
      * "Whomever" relates back to the noun representatives and is the object of the verb "chooses". The subject of the dependent clause is "Committee".
Referring to a place, thing or idea: Which, That
When using relative pronouns for places, things or ideas, rather than determining case, the writer must decide whether the information in the dependent clause is essential to the meaning of the independent clause or simply additional information.
When information is critical to the understanding of the main clause, use That as the appropriate relative pronoun and do not set the information off by commas.
For example:
  • Russian generals have delivered a message that is difficult to ignore.
    * "That" relates back to the noun "message" and is necessary for the reader to know what "message" the sentence is about.
  • There is another factor that obviously boosts the reputation of both of these men.
    * "That" relates back to the noun "factor" and is necessary for the reader to know what "factor" the sentence is about.
When information is not critical to the understanding of the main clause, use "Which" as the appropriate relative pronoun and set the information off by commas.
For example:
  • The toughest intramural fight of all for Clinton was the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he undertook a full year before the 1994 election.
    * "Which" relates back to the noun "agreement" and the information following it is not necessary for the reader to know what "agreement" the sentence is about.
  • Clinton refused to head toward the center on affirmative action and abortion, which are the two most sacred issues to the traditional liberal wing of the party.
    * "Wich" relates back to the noun "affirmative action and abortion" and the information following it is not necessary for the reader to know what "affirmative action and abortion" the sentence is about.
When referring to more than one place, thing or idea use these relative pronouns: Whatever, Whichever
For example:
  • The three approaches, whichever works is fine, produce a more ambiguous picture of a man.
    * "Whichever" relates to the noun "approaches" and the information contained within the commas is additional, not critical information.
  • Any excessive profits, whatever exceeded accepted limits, would attract the notice of representatives.
    * "Whatever" relates to the noun "profits" and the information contained within the commas is additional, not critical information.
Interrogative Pronoun
Definition: An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun used in order to ask a question. Some of them refer only to people, like "who" and others refer to people and objects, etc like "what". They do not distinguish between singular and plural, so they only have one form. Interrogative pronouns produce information questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer.
For example:
·  What is her phone number?
·  What do you want?
Interrogative pronouns are: What, Which, Who, Whose, Whom. In addition, these pronouns may take the suffixes -ever and -soever.
Forms:
As we can see in the next table, these pronouns could act as a subject, object or possessive in a sentence.
Subject
Object
Possessive
who
whom
whose
which
that
 
WHAT can be used to ask about objects or people.
For example:
  • What time is it?
  • What is your name?
  • What do you want?
WHICH can be used to ask about objects or people.
For example:
  • Which chair are you talking about?
  • Which jumper do you like?
  • Which is your mother?
WHO can be used to ask about people
For example:
  • Who are you?
  • Which is your mother?
  • Who has been sitting in my chair?
WHOSE can be used to ask about a possession relation.
For example:
  • Whose is this book?
  • Whose car did you drive here?
WHOM can be used to ask about people.It is less usual and more formal than "who"
For example:
  • Whom did you phone?
  • For whom will you vote?
NOTE: Either "which" or "what" can also be used as an interrogative adjective, and that "who," "whom," or "which" can also be used as a relative pronoun.
For example:
  • The man whom she chose will do a wonderful job.
Examples
  • Who is in charge?
  • Which wants to see the dentist first?
  • Who wrote the novel Rockbound?
  • Whom do you think we should invite?
  • What did she say?
Possessive Pronoun
Definition: We use the Possessive Pronouns when we want to substitute a group of words that are indicating a possession relation.
Subject
Possessive
I
Mine
You
Yours
He
His
She
Hers
It
Its
We
Ours
You
Yours
They
Theirs
For example:
  • This is my book.
    * In this example, we can substitute "my book" for the possessive pronoun "mine". => This is mine.
  • This is your disk and that's mine.
    * Mine substitutes the word disk and shows that it belongs to me.
A possessive pronoun indicates it is acting as a subject complement or a subject of the sentence.
For example:
  • The smallest gift is mine.
    This is yours.
    * Here the possessive pronouns acts as a subject complement.
  • His is on the kitchen counter.
    Theirs will be delivered tomorrow.
    Ours is the green one on the corner.
    * Here the possessive pronoun acts as the subject of the sentence.
Note : Possessive pronouns are very similar to possessive adjectives.
For example:
  • You can borrow my book as long as you remember that it's not yours.
    => The possessive "my" depends on the noun "book."
    => The possessive "yours" is a pronoun which stands in the place of "your book".
  • When you drive to Manitoba, will you take your car or theirs?
    => The possessive "your" depends on the noun "car."
    => The possessive pronoun, "theirs," stands in the place of the noun phrase, "their car."
Reciprocal pronoun
Definition: We use the reciprocal pronouns to indicate that two people can carry out an action and get the consequences of that action at the same time. There are two reciprocal pronouns:
Reciprocal pronouns
each other
one another
They enable you to simplify sentences where the same general idea is expressed two or more times.
For example:
  • On their wedding day Jhon gave Mary a gold ring and Mary gave Jhon a gold ring.
    * Using the reciprocal pronoun, "each other", this could be rewritten:
    => On their wedding day Mary and Jhon gave each other gold rings.
  • Peter and Mary kissed each other.
    * In this example "each other" indicates that both people involved in the action of "kissing" got the result, kisses, at the same time.
If you need to refer to more than two people, say the students in a classroom, then we could use the reciprocal pronoun, "one another".
For example:
  • The students in this classroom cooperate with one another.
  • The teachers gathered to congratulate one another on the year's conclusion.
 
indefinite pronouns
The indefinite pronouns are:
somebody
someone
something
anybody
anyone
anything
nobody
no one
nothing
everybody
everyone
everything
We use indefinite pronouns to refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are. We use pronouns ending in -body or -one for people, and pronouns ending in -thing for things:
Everybody enjoyed the concert.
I opened the door but there was no one at home.
It was a very clear day. We could see everything.
We use a singular verb after an indefinite pronoun:
Everybody loves Sally.
Everything was ready for the party.
When we refer back to an indefinite pronoun we normally use a plural pronoun:
Everybody enjoyed the concert. They stood up and clapped.
I will tell somebody that dinner is ready. They have been waiting a long time.
We can add -'s to an indefinite pronoun to make a possessive.
They were staying in somebody’s house.
Is this anybody’s coat?
We use indefinite pronouns with no- as the subject in negative clauses (not pronouns with any.)
Anybody didn’t come >> Nobody came.
We do not use another negative in a clause with nobody, no one or nothing:
Nobody came.
Nothing happened.
We use else after indefinite pronouns to refer to people or things in addition to the ones we already mentioned.
All the family came, but no one else.
If Michael can’t come we’ll ask somebody else.
So that's eggs, peas and chips. Do you want anything else?
 
one and ones
We use one (singular) and ones (plural) to avoid unnecessary repetition.
See those two girls? Helen is the tall one and Jane is the short one.
Which is your car, the red one or the blue one?
My trousers are torn. I need some new ones.
See those two girls. Helen is the one on the left.
Let’s look at the photographs. The ones you took in Paris.
We often use them after Which ... in questions:
You can borrow a book. Which one do you want?
There are lots of books here. Which ones are yours?

questions

Which question word to use?

We use who to ask questions about people:
Who is that?
Who lives here?
Who did you see?
We use whose to ask about possession:
Whose coat is this? [or] Whose is this coat?
Whose book is that? [or] Whose is that book?
Whose bags are those? [or] Whose are those bags?
We use what to ask questions about things:
What is that?
What do you want?
We use which to ask someone to choose something:
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I’ve got two books. Which do you want?
We can also use what and which with nouns:
What subjects did you study at school?
What newspaper do you read?
Which newspaper do you read – the Times or the Guardian?
Which book do you want?
Which one is yours?

Questions with prepositions:

Questions ending in prepositions are very common in English. After Who, Which or What we often have a preposition at the end of the sentence:
Who does this book belong to?
What are you looking for?
Which university did you go to?
What country do you come from?

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