Pronouns contribute a lot to the English language, spoken or English. They help to replace nouns so that we can avoid repetition. Repetition is monotonous and makes the sentence dull and sound immature. The use of these replacements makes the sentences sound mature and polished.
What is a pronoun?
The simplest definition of a pronoun is that it the word that replaces the noun. Take a look at this example to understand better.
Jonas is absent today. Jonas is unwell. Jonas will speak to the principal to help him with notes.
The repetition of the noun Jonas makes the sentence sound incorrect. Therefore, we replace the noun.
Jonas is absent today because he is unwell. He will speak to the principal to help him with the notes.
With this example, it is clear that this sub-category of nouns plays an important role in spoken and written English.
2. How many types do we have?
We have eight important types of pronouns. Understanding all six of them plays a significant role since an incorrect pronoun could lead to an incorrect sentence. They are:
b) Reflexive and Emphatic
3. What is a personal pronoun?
The words that replace the first, second, or third speaker a sentence are personal pronouns. I, you, he (she, it), and they fall under this category.
“I” replaces the noun speaking as the first person (We for plural.) “You” replaces the noun speaking as the second person (it remains you even in the plural form. He/She/It replaces the noun speaking in the third person (They for plural.)
Example: Alice has wonderful handwriting. Alice will surely win this contest. We can replace this sentence as Alice has wonderful handwriting. She(Third person-singular) will surely win this contest.
4. What do we know about Reflexive and Emphatic Pronouns?
Words that take “self” or “selves” as a suffix are reflexive. We used them when the action reflects back upon the subject. Some examples of the same are: I hurt myself, We hurt ourselves, You will hurt yourself, etc.
When we use personal pronouns with the reflexive ones to add emphasis on something, they become emphatic. For example, I will do it myself, The town itself is not very large, He himself said so, etc.
5. What is the definition of the Possessive type?
The name is very suggestive of what this type could mean. When the noun owns or possesses something it becomes this type of a pronoun. There two sub-types for this pronoun: Absolute and Limiting.
The teachers cleared their classrooms after the meeting. This is limiting because it demonstrates how something belongs to the subject. My, your, its, his, her, our, their are all the words you can use here.
On the other hand, the absolute type includes mine, yours, his hers, ours, and theirs. I took care of my injury and my teammates took care of theirs.
It is important to add that we do not need to use apostrophes while writing these.
6. Discuss Demonstrative Pronouns.
Words that demonstrate and take the place of a noun to point out the objects are demonstrative pronouns. This, that, these, and those are the words we can use to demonstrate. For example, these books are mine. Another example is, The climate of Bengaluru is like that of Pune. Instead of repeating the words “the climate,” we replace it with a word that avoids repetition.
7. Define Relative Pronouns.
This particular type is one of the most important ones to understand and use correctly in the English language. When a word connects independent clauses with relative clauses in a way that adds more information to the sentence, it is a relative pronoun. In simple language, it relates the noun to the antecedent. We will learn more about antecedents further in the lesson.
That, what, which, who, and whom are all the words that you can use to make this relation.
8. What are Interrogative Pronouns?
Much like the above two types, this one is also very evident in the role it plays in the parts of speech. These are similar to relative pronouns, but, they serve a different purpose. What will all the neighbors say? “What,” asks a question, but also replaces the noun in the answer.
Sometimes, we can also use them in asking indirect questions. For example, Say, which you would like the best.” This sentence isn’t exactly a question, but, even though a statement, it still asks a question.
For example, My house, which is forty years old, still needs no repair.
As we can see, “which” interrogates, but also rightfully replaces the use of the noun. Otherwise, we would have to write the sentence as My house if forty years old. My house needs no repair.
9. What is an Indefinite Pronoun?
When we do not speak about a noun in particular but want to make reference to a person or thing, we can use an indefinite pronoun. Furthermore, they are very simple to understand and use. Let us take a look at an example. Somebody has stolen my watch.
The word “somebody” clearly indicates that there is a noun in question, but the speaker isn’t sure who it is. Therefore, we use an indefinite word to replace the noun. One, other, none, some, anybody, everybody, and no one is all the words we can use for this purpose. To understand more clearly, let us cite another example.
We did not see any of them again. The word “any” does not define the person or thing clearly, but yet replaces the noun.
10. What is an antecedent?
Sometimes, we establish the noun or the noun phrase right at the beginning of the sentence, story, or paragraph. After that, we can conveniently switch to using the pronoun to avoid repetition. That is an antecedent. For example, Annie said she would never go back to that office again.
In the above sentence, we first establish the noun “Annie.” Immediately after that, we use an antecedent “she” to replace the noun.
This is all about the lesson on Pronouns. If you found this a good throwback of elementary grammar, you should give our lesson on Adjectives a read.