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David scored the winning goal. David could not control David’s excitement. David hugged David’s coach and exclaimed “David has made it!”
The proper noun David is repeated six times in just three sentences, and it sounds very unpleasant. Isn’t it awkward to use the name again and again? How could we make it better? To avoid the awkward repetition of a noun, we can use another part of speech—pronouns.

Now, read the same sentences with pronouns.

David scored the winning goal. He could not control his excitement. He hugged his coach and exclaimed “I have made it!”


What are Pronouns?

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A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun or noun phrase. The noun to which a pronoun refers to is called its antecedent. All pronouns have antecedent.

  • Tamara celebrated her twentieth birthday yesterday.
          Antecedent        pronoun
  • Smith shielded his eyes instinctively as the lightning flashed across the sky.
        Antecedent    pronoun
  • Tony likes Cindy’s poems because they sparkle with exciting images.
                                          ↓                     ↓
                                    Antecedent        pronoun

List of Pronouns

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Read the following sentences and note the italicized words:
  • He, you, and I have been shortlisted for the interview.

  • This book is not mine, it is hers.

  • These mangoes are delicious and those are sour.

  • Whom are you going to meet today?

  • Mr. White owns a painting which was sold for one million dollar in the auction. 

  • Sally laughed at herself when she looked at the mirror.

  • He himself went to congratulate the toppers of the class.

  • Someone has broken the flower vase.
Looking at the pronouns he, you, I, mine, hers, these, those, whom, which, herself, himself, and someone; we can say there are different kinds of Pronouns. Let’s have a look at them.
  • Personal Pronoun (he, you, I)
  • Possessive Pronouns (mine, hers)
  • Demonstrative Pronouns (these, those)
  • Interrogative Pronouns (whom)
  • Relative Pronouns (which)
  • Reflexive Pronouns (herself)
  • Intensive Pronouns (himself)
  • Indefinite Pronouns (someone)
Let us now discuss in detail what they are.

1. Personal Pronouns:

Read the following dialogue and notice the italicized words.

Charles: Rising prices are really causing havoc to the budget. I find it really difficult to meet the expenses of my family.

Roger: It is the same story with me. Yesterday, I had four hundred dollars with me, but I wonder how it slipped through my fingers.

Charles: Mine is a small family but I do find it hard to manage the family budget. This is when I have a regular job with good salary. 

Roger: The problem with me is I have to look after my aged parents. They do not stay with us, but they rely entirely on us

Charles: The value system is changing. There are very few people who look after their aged parents. You and your wife can be an inspiration for the younger generation. Your way of looking at things can add value to their life. 

Roger: Sometimes, it becomes difficult to convince your own family. My son wanted to accompany his friends on a trip to Italy, and it was quite hard to explain him that we couldn’t afford the air ticket.

Charles: I regret hurting the feelings of my daughter. She wanted to wear a pretty dress for the prom, but her choices were too expensive. 

Roger: I wonder how other people manage their expenses. They seem to enjoy all kinds of luxuries. Inflation doesn’t bother them. Their lives look so comfortable. 

Charles: Perhaps, they know how to spend judiciously. Our only hope is that Government does something to control the price, so we can fulfill our dreams and the dreams of our children.

The italicized words are personal pronouns. A personal pronoun refers to a specific person, place, or thing. We can classify personal pronouns as: 

    Singular                                            Plural                                             
 First Person                                 I, me, my, mine                                we, us, our, ours                            
 Second Person                            you, your, yours   you, your, yours 
 Third Person                                he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its   they, them, their, theirs 

2. Possessive Pronouns:

Mine, ours, yours, his, hers, theirs are possessive pronouns. They show ownership or relationship. They can stand on their own and are not followed by a noun or noun phrase. Possessive pronouns do not take an apostrophe.


Jesse and I bought some jewelry for the marriage. The necklace studded with rubies is mine, and the one with emerald is hers.

3. Demonstrative Pronouns:

This, that, these, and those are demonstrative pronouns. They direct attention to a specific person, place, or thing.

  • This story is quite appealing to kids.

  • That is Jane’s bag.

  • These are my favorite recipes.

  • Those herbs are bitter.

4. Interrogative Pronouns:

Interrogative pronouns are used to introduce questions.

  • What kind of music do you prefer listening to? 

  • Which is the most populated city in Arizona?

  • Who is willing to compete in the marathon?

  • Whom did Jason hit?

  • Whose apartment is this?

5. Relative Pronouns:

Relative pronouns — who, whom, whose, which, and that — are used to relate one idea in a sentence to another.

  • The man who is wearing a striped knee-length coat has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains.

  • The young woman whom Ernie interviewed today is a famous pop singer.

  • The reward was given to the boy whose father had saved many lives but couldn’t save himself from the ravages of hurricane.

  • Killer whales, which can be found in all the oceans, seem to prefer coastal waters and cooler regions.

  • The guitar that we bought today is made of rosewood.

6. Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

These two types of pronouns end in –self of –selves, but they function differently in sentences. 

                                                   Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns                   
   Singular                                     Plural                                       
 First Person                       myself  ourselves
 Second Person                   yourself  yourselves
 Third Person                       himself, herself, itself  themselves

7. A reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of the sentence and directs the action of the verb back to the subject. 

Example: Krissa asked herself why she had quit the job.

On the other hand, intensive or emphasizing pronouns simply add emphasis a noun or another pronoun in the same sentences.

Example: I myself learned how to make the tea cookies.

8. Indefinite Pronouns:

Indefinite pronouns refer to persons, places, or things that are not specifically named. Some common indefinite pronouns are:

 all                      any                       anyone                anybody               
 anything             both                      each                   either                   
 everybody           everyone               everything            few                      
 many                 neither                  no one                 nobody                
 none                  nothing                 one                     several                 
 some                 somebody             somebody           something            

  • The fire destroyed almost everything in the house.

  • No one in the team took initiative to prepare in the presentation.

  • Both of the girls regretted not attending the seminar.

  • One of the passengers was injured badly in the accident.

Pronoun Case

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Case is the form of a noun or a pronoun that indicates its use in a sentence. Both nouns and pronouns have three cases. They are nominative, objective, and possessive. Unlike nouns, the pronoun forms are different in each case.

                                   Personal Pronouns                                                         
                                   Nominative                  Objective                        Possessive                          
 Singular   I
 he, she, it  
 him, her, it 
 my, mine
 your, yours
 his, her, hers, its 
 Plural  we
 our, ours
 their, theirs

Nominative Case: The personal pronoun functions as the subject or subject complement of the sentence. 

                             We bought ten cartons of orange juice for the birthday party.

                             The last one to leave the class was I.
                                                                   subject complement

Objective Case: The personal pronoun functions as the direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition

                           If Claire comes in before I get back, ask her to wait.
                                                                                direct object

                           Jacob’s manager sent him a warning mail for not meeting the project deadlines.
                                                     indirect object

                           Wendy bought these flowers for him.
                                                             object of preposition

Possessive Case: The possessive case pronoun is used to show ownership

                            Uncle Jason offered us a ride in his new car.
                                                                 possessive case

Test Yourself

1. Identify the antecedents of the underlined pronouns.

  • Emma sings in the choir and her brother plays in the band.

  • The wonderful thing about the opening ceremony of FIFA World Cup was that it lasted only for half an hour.

  • The first match was played between Brazil and Croatia. It was a tough fight between both the teams.

  • The crowd enjoyed every moment of the first day. They were cheering their team. 

  • The mobile industry seems to change its products daily.

2. Choose the correct personal pronoun from the bracket to complete the passage.

Little Red Riding Hood promised _______ (he, she, her, his) mother that _________ (he, she, her, his) wouldn’t speak to strangers on the way to her grandmother’s house. However, _______ (he, she, her, his) was tempted to collect the flowers for _________ (he, she, her, his) grandmother. Suddenly, a wolf appeared beside _______ (he, she, it, her) and asked in a friendly voice “What are you doing here, little girl?” Little Red Riding Hood replied that ___________ (he, she, it, her) on her way to her grandma’s house. The wolf planned to eat them and ran to them granny’shouse and gobbled______ (he, she, her, his) up. He then wore the grandma’s nightgown and covered _____ (its, hers, his) face with the blanket. Little Red Riding Hood didn’t suspect that something was wrong until the wolf leapt out of the bed and began to chase ________ (he, she, it, her). ________ (He, She, It, Her) screamed and cried for help. A woodcutter ______ (who, whom, which, that) was chopping logs nearby heard __________ (its, her, his) cry and rushed towards the cottage with an axe. _________ (He, His, She, Her) hit the wolf and rescued the grandmother. The woodcutter carried the wolf deep into the forest where he wouldn’t bother people any longer. Little Red Riding Hood had learned ____ (his, her, its, their) lesson and never spoke to strangers ever again. 

3. Fill in the blank spaces with who, whom, whose, which, or that.
  1.  We wondered ______ car this is.

  2.  The gift ____________ you gave me on my birthday is very precious to me.

  3.  The old man __________ has been abandoned by his son now leaves in an old age home.

  4.  This is the lane ____________ connects to the main road.

  5.  The boy ___________ we trust will not let us down.

4. Combine the following sentences using relative pronouns.
  1. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has more than 1,500 animals on nearly 60 lush acres.  Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is in Tampa Bay, Florida.

  2. Sports Times is an interesting sports magazine. Sports Times covers all kinds of games played at a city level.

  3. Samuel is a child prodigy. Samuel has been awarded graduation degree at the age of 10.

  4. We have a refrigerator. It has four doors.

  5. The kid has created a unique picture using variety of materials. The kid’s parents have been helping him in his creative pursuit.

5. Complete the sentences using Interrogative pronouns:
  1. ______________ did you say to the child to make her laugh?

  2. ___________ do you think will enter the competition?

  3. ____________ gave the signal to release the water from the dam?

  4. _____________ of these video games have you bought?

  5. ____________ shall we interview next?

6. Identify the case of the underlined pronoun 
  1. The pink dress is mine. It is not hers. ________________

  2. Charles and I work in the same school. _____________

  3. Laurie asked for crayons, but I refused to give it to her. __________

  4. Create a new folder and save the file in it. ____________

  5. His parents are not willing to send him to tuition. ______

  6. Hurry up and bring your luggage. _____________

  7. We sought the advice of our teacher about our problems. ________

  8. You must be responsible for your actions. ______________

7. Determine whether the underlined pronoun is reflexive or intensive.
  1. The immigrants prepared themselves for the approaching winter. _________

  2. She herself must think of a career soon. ______________

  3. Robert laughed at himself when he realized what he has done. _________

  4. Bert and his sister repaired the bike themselves. ______________

  5. The chairman made the cabinet all by himself. ____________

8. Look at these animated pictures and write sentences using this, that, these, those.

Animated Picture 1

Animated Picture 2

Animated Picture 3

Animated Picture 4

More topics in Pronouns
Demonstrative Pronouns Personal Pronouns
Reflexive Pronouns Interrogative Pronouns
Intensive Pronoun Relative Pronouns
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