Types of Pronouns
What are Types of Pronouns?
Pronouns are a part of speech used to substitute nouns, the purpose of which is to prevent repetition in speaking and writing. The most common pronouns we use every day are I, you, he, she, it, and they. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are over 9 types of nouns, including sub-types and we will discuss each one in this article.
The material on types of pronouns is large. In this article, we will discuss an overview of their rules and functions. But if you would like to get into the subject in greater detail, you’re in luck. The LillyPad.ai blog has dedicated pages for each type of pronoun, and not only that but all the other grammatical topics significant to learning the English language. Feel free to look through the contents on our grammar page, which have been prepared and written by language experts with the maximum advantages of independent learning in mind.
The classifications of pronouns are done in various configurations in English books and online language blogs. It’s natural to see different references referring to one as a sub-type of the other. Whether or not they are types of their own or a sub-category of another is not that significant. Bear in mind that English evolves, and so does its instruction. We will itemize all the various types of pronouns and make sure to include information pertinent to language studies.
Personal pronouns substitute specific nouns, which can be the subjects or objects of sentences. Their forms change according to three indicators: person (who is speaking or spoken about), number (how many people or things are being referred to), and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter). The table below lists all the forms of personal pronouns:
The neuter gender can indicate all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd persons and both singular and plural forms as shown in the table below:
|1st Person Singular||1st Person Plural||2nd Person Singular||2nd Person Plural||3rd Person Singular||3rd Person Plural|
|I, me, my, mine, myself||we, us, our, ours, ourselves||you, your, yours, yourself||you, your, yours, yourselves||it, its||they, them, their, theirs, themselves|
Masculine and feminine pronouns are only apparent in the 3rd Person Singular.
|3rd Person Singular||he, him, his, himself||she, her, hers, herself|
2. Subjective Case Pronouns
Subjective pronouns obviously function as subjects of sentences: I, we, you, he, she, it, and they. Let’s look at some examples:
- We want to watch a movie this weekend.
- Does he feel well enough to get out of bed?
- She is preparing breakfast on the patio.
3. Objective Case Pronouns
Objective pronouns function as objects of sentences: me, us, you, him, her, it, and them. For example:
- I regret to inform you that the concert has been canceled.
- I’m sure you’re sorry but you still owe them an explanation.
- It was last year when the family gave her the keys to the empire.
Possessive pronouns replace nouns that display ownership: mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs. They are different from possessive determiners because they don’t come with nouns (the object owned by someone) and can stand alone in sentences. For example:
- Is this book yours?
- The management of the factory is theirs now.
- That’s Felix’s car. This is mine.
5. Possessive Determiners
Like possessive pronouns, possessive determiners substitute nouns that exhibit possession: my, our, your, his, her, its, and their. They are different from possessive pronouns because they go before the nouns that are owned by someone. They can’t stand alone in sentences. For example:
- This is your book.
- The factory is now under their management.
- That’s Felix’s car. This is my car.
Demonstrative pronouns indicate or point to nouns and other pronouns. They are used in relation to space or time. Let’s look at the table below and the following examples:
- This is the exact size of a backpack that I’m looking for.
- Those cows belong to the farm not far from here.
- When I said I wanted candy, I didn’t mean these.
Interrogative pronouns replace nouns in questions: who, whom, which, whose, and what. He pronouns who and whom reference people, with who acting as a subject and whom acting as an object. Whose replace possessive pronouns. Which is used to signify animals and things, while what may be used to ask about the qualities and nature of any subject. For example:
- Which of these vehicles are we going to rent?
- What does he do at the museum all afternoon?
- Who am I going to work with on this project?
Relative pronouns act as bridges that connect phrases or clauses to one another: who, whom, that, and which. Their compound forms whoever, whomever, and whichever are also used, which typically refer to multiple subjects or a general group. For example:
- Whoever took my call was snippy and impatient.
- The junior associate who helped me with the case was quite sincere.
- The hotel room, which included a buffet breakfast for four persons, was discounted.
Indefinite pronouns indicate the idea of recognizable but non-specific subjects: all, few, each, several, many, another, one, any, anyone, anybody, anything, every, everyone, everybody, everything, some, someone, somebody, something, none, nobody, and nothing. For example:
- Everyone in the crowd was a huge fan.
- The marketing for the event was stellar because everybody showed up.
- I don’t know who it was but somebody was snoring like a train last night.
Reflexive pronouns “reflect or mirror back” to the subject or clause of a sentence, making the subject and object the same person or thing: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.
- The kids taught themselves all the songs on the list.
- Sheila caught herself pining for a huge slice of chocolate cake.
- Keyon trained himself to recognize patterns in the text.
Intensive pronouns look the same as reflexive pronouns but their function in sentences isn’t the same. They highlight or emphasize their antecedents but are ultimately unnecessary. If you took out an intensive pronoun from a sentence, the meaning stays the same, which is the usual way of distinguishing it from a reflexive pronoun. For example:
- I fixed the car myself.
- You yourself are aware of your transgressions.
- The creator of the game himself attended the fan meet.
12. Reciprocal Pronouns
There are only two reciprocal pronouns: “each other” and “one another.” They indicate mutual actions or connections. For example:
- They instantly liked each other the moment they met at the conference.
- Everyone in the group respects one another.
- We’ve run countless tests but they always cancel each other out.
Types of Pronouns Rules
|Point of View or “Person”||Personal Pronouns are the only pronouns that change form according to points of view: the first, second, and third person. This rule includes possessive determiners, possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and intensive pronouns. Make sure that you’re using the right point of view and with consistency.|
|Singular and Plural Personal Nouns||Personal Pronouns change form according to their number. Moreover, because they replace nouns, they are subject to the same subject-verb agreement rules. Don’t use singular verbs with plural pronouns and vice versa.|
|Subjective Case and Objective Case of Personal Pronouns||As replacements for nouns, personal pronouns can assume the same functions as subjects and objects of sentences and clauses. They must follow their correct forms in these roles. Remember that the subjective case has different forms than the objective case, so be attentive to your own usage. Furthermore, take note that not all pronouns are affected by this rule, namely interrogative, relative, indefinite, and demonstrative pronouns.|
|Possessive Determiners and Possessive Pronouns||As possessives, pronouns change form according to the nouns they replace. As possessive pronouns, they replace the objects or things that are owned. As possessive determiners, they replace the owners. Also, remember that possessive pronouns stand alone and don’t appear with possessions. On the other hand, possessive determiners need to appear before possessions and can’t stand alone.|
|Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns||The twins, reflexive and intensive pronouns, aren’t difficult to tell apart. The most common way to differentiate them from each other is to omit the pronoun from the sentence. If the sentence still makes sense after the omission, then the pronoun you’ve taken out was intensive. This is because reflexive pronouns mirror the subject of the sentence and assumes the role of object. In other words, the subject and object are the same and the sentence won’t make sense if the object is deleted.|
|Interrogative and Relative Pronouns||Yet another set of twins ad these two types of pronouns have identical forms. However, based on their names, interrogative pronouns only exist in questions. If the same word is in a basic sentence structure, it is a relative pronoun.|
Examples of Types of Pronouns
1. Personal Pronouns
- I can confirm that the product works.
- Is she going to post updates about the series today?
- You are not the type of woman who heard ‘no’ often.
- They will cross the river when the weather is better.
- Wasn’t he the man who hosted the festivities yesterday?
2. Possessive Pronouns
- You’re safe here; whatever trouble you have, they’re ours now.
- Is that one of our floats or is it theirs?
- Did Larry know the recognition award is his?
- That pile over there is Gina’s to sift through, and this is mine.
- There, I made them leave. The room is all yours.
3. Possessive Determiners
- It’s a conundrum that Sully was hired despite his lack of experience.
- Her ride back to the business quarter ditched her in the middle of nowhere.
- My son is on his way already; he’ll be there in a moment.
- I’m not quite sure but I think their offices are on the sixth floor.
- Why don’t you bring your laptop along with you so you could work a bit?
4. Demonstrative Pronouns
- These products are cost-effective but the quality is good.
- Did you recognize those men who were standing by the entrance?
- They grow the fruits in that orchard over there.
- She has experience in this kind of undertaking, so best not to worry.
- We were left with these reports without any idea what to make of them.
5. Interrogative Pronouns
- Who was assigned to supervise the numbers on Monitor 28?
- Which color would look great in the dining hall?
- Whom will you meet from the acquisitions department?
- Whose idea was it to shift to an industrial background? It’s brilliant!
- What were the parameters that Dr. Whoden set for the research team?
6. Relative Pronouns
- The man who visited the location earlier is the director of executive buying.
- Melona finally built a house that she had been dreaming about for years.
- Sandy’s summer home, which overlooked the valley below, was like heaven.
- I believe the condition that was set last month was contingent upon this report.
- The receptionist whom you talked to came over with this note.
7. Indefinite Pronouns
- None of the attendees had any inkling about the greatness of their special guest.
- Can anybody find me a smaller pot to transfer the succulent?
- There was some grumbling in the crowd but nobody spoke up.
- Everyone in the class was excited to make a Valentine’s Day card for their parents.
- Somebody came by in the morning looking for you.
8. Reflexive Pronouns
- After grocery shopping, Moon-Ji cooked herself a nice dinner.
- We found ourselves mesmerized by the paintings in the museum
- Willem convinced himself that this was what he wanted.
- Please, help yourselves to anything on the table. They’re all for you.
- The children kept themselves busy by building a sandcastle.
9. Intensive Pronouns
- Minh Ha herself knew that she might not see any of the money back.
- The townspeople organized a cleaning brigade themselves.
- The horse itself ran into the tree and bumped its head.
- She did the surveys herself, traveling all over the district to visit homes.
- My dad built the deck himself. It only took three weekends.
10. Reciprocal Pronouns
- We’ve always had issues with each other since high school.
- Trusting one another is crucial for any team to succeed.
- This is a promise we made to one another after graduation.
- They reached for each other in the darkness of the cave.
- It feels like everyone in that community looks out for each other.
Types of Pronouns Exercises with Answers
Exercise on Types of Pronouns
Identify the type of pronoun of the words in bold in each sentence. Choose your answer from the list provided.
1. Nana presented her proposal to Mr. Rahel, who was her old boss, and felt a bit anxious.
a. Relative Pronoun
b. Interrogative Pronoun
c. Personal Pronoun
2. I don’t think they treated you fairly. The credit should’ve been yours.
a. Relative Pronoun
b. Possessive Pronoun
c. Possessive Determiner
3. Who did they vote for club president this year?
a. Relative Pronoun
b. Interrogative Pronoun
c. Personal pronoun
4. He is currently lounging by the pool without a care in the world.
a. Intensive Pronoun
b. Relative Pronoun
c. Personal Pronoun
5. I forgot I still had Halloween makeup when I caught myself in the mirror.
a. Reflexive Pronoun
b. Indefinite Pronoun
c. Intensive Pronoun
1. A: Relative Pronoun
2. B: Possessive Pronoun
3. B: Interrogative Pronoun
4. C: Personal Pronoun
5. A: Reflexive Pronoun
Types of Pronouns List
The following table lists pronouns according to type for easier reference. This is a comprehensive list. Note that there are some overlaps, which is normal for some types of pronouns:
|Type of Pronoun||Example|
|Personal Pronouns||I, me, my, mine, myself, we, us, our, ours, ourselves, you, your, yours, yourself you, your, yours, yourselves, it, its, they, them, their, their, themselves, he, him, his, himself, she, her, hers, herself|
|Subjective Pronouns||I, we, you, he, she, it, they|
|Objective Pronouns||me, us, you, him, her, it, them|
|Possessive Pronouns||mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs|
|Possessive Determiners||my, our, your, his, her, its, their|
|Demonstrative Pronouns||this, these, that, those|
|Interrogative pronouns||who, whom, which, whose, what|
|Relative Pronouns||who, whom, that, which whoever, whomever, whichever|
|Indefinite Pronouns||all, few, each, several, many, another, one, any, anyone, anybody, anything, every, everyone, everybody, everything, some, someone, somebody, something, none, nobody, nothing|
|Reflexive/Intensive Pronouns||myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves|
|Reciprocal Pronouns||each other, one another|
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
|Use Grammar Lists||English learning tools such as lists, tables, and charts are useful guides. They certainly can’t replace books, but they break down complex grammar topics into their essentials; making them convenient to use for comparisons and reviews. However, the vital point of this method is to create your own lists from your lessons. Your materials will be personalized to match your learning preferences. Creating lists also provides you more time with whatever grammar concept you’re studying. It promotes better recall.|
|Use Audio-Visual Resources||Self-directed instruction is a significant part of learning any language. You can’t depend only on lessons inside a traditional classroom. If you’re not studying at least 3 hours a day 5 days a week, you won’t reach advanced proficiency within a year or two. To experience the maximum benefits of independent learning, you should use the correct tools – English media is one of them. By integrating your favorite films, TV shows, social media channels, music, and podcasts into your daily schedule, you’ll get much-needed exposure to how native and non-native speakers use English in various social, academic, and professional contexts. This will intensify your vocabulary and sentence construction skills; provided, of course, that you use them with the purpose of studying language elements (e.g. useful expressions, humor, wordplay, specific vocabulary, and so on) from the material.|
|Practical Use||If you use a big chunk of your time on books but don’t spend the same amount on real English interactions, you might reach a high proficiency in grammar but still struggle to talk at length. The only meaningful way of using what you’ve learned is to use it. Unfortunately, many English students live or study in places where the language isn’t commonly used. If you find yourself in such a position, remember that there’s always a way to make an environment for yourself where you can explore the English language with other people who share your goals. You can form discussion groups with your classmates and friends; and whenever possible, cultivate friendships with both native and non-native English speakers. Not only will you be helpful to each other’s English learning, but you’ll also develop social and cultural intelligence. Consistent practice will advance your proficiency in ways that aren’t possible with books alone.|
Common Errors Made by English Learners
|Pronoun-antecedent agreement||The pronoun-antecedent agreement is a common cause of errors. If the antecedent is singular the pronoun replacing it must also be singular, as it is with plurals. For example:|
Michael = he
Cora = she
|The group = they
The shark = it
|Subject-verb agreement||Pronouns fall under the same rules that the nouns they replace follow, the most important of which is subject-verb agreement. Singular pronouns must use singular verbs and plural pronouns must use plural verbs. For example:|
– He is my boyfriend.
– She works efficiently.
– They are students from the center.
– They run non-stop. With possessive pronouns, you must apply subject-verb rules to the antecedents. Let’s look at how they’re used as subjects:
– For a new band, theirs is quite famous. (the antecedent “band” is singular)
– He raises chickens and all of his lay a lot of eggs. (the antecedent “chickens” is plural)
|Subjective and Objective Case||A common error in using personal pronouns is using the wrong case. Make sure that you use the right one as pronouns functioning as subjects can’t be used as objects. Subjective pronouns are also not used as objects of prepositions. The subjective pronoun “I” is usually the recipient of this mistake. Here are some incorrect expressions:|
– after I and my mother
– between you and I
– greetings from I and my staff
The pronoun “you” is a chameleon of sorts. It has the same subjective and objective forms. It can also be singular and plural and can refer to all genders depending on the context.
|Punctuation||While it’s true that with nouns, apostrophes are used to show possession (e.g., Dad’s car, Toni’s book, Ian’s story, and so on), you can’t do the same with possessive pronouns. Ever. Some pronouns do come with apostrophes, but they are contractions and not possessives.|
Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Types of Pronouns
The following list includes points to remember when studying types of pronouns:
- Almost always, pronouns follow antecedents. This simply means that a pronoun fundamentally can only be understood through the noun it’s replacing. This is especially true in writing. In speaking, if the people involved in a conversation is privy to the subject (nouns) they’re talking in reference to, antecedents aren’t required. The need for antecedents doesn’t generally apply to the pronouns I, me, and you as they refer to obvious subjects (the person speaking or writing or the people being spoken to or written for).
- Subject pronouns can be used to change the subject’s name.
- Indefinite pronouns function on their own without antecedents.
- Object pronouns, like nouns, can be used as direct and indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.
- Relative pronouns introduce relative clauses. They are at the beginning of each relative clause. They can function as subjects, objects, and possessives.
Types of Pronouns Frequently Asked Questions
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