What are 9 types of pronouns? We see pronouns in the English language every day. They help to make our texts more interesting. To understand how to use a pronoun properly you need to be familiar with the differences between different types of pronouns.
What Are Different Types of Pronouns?
Pronouns substitute nouns in a sentence. It becomes repetitive to repeat the same noun throughout a text. To add variation to your writing you can employ pronouns to replace a specific noun. When writing a short story about your mom you don’t want to use the word mom in every sentence. Substituting a pronoun like “she” for “mom” can make your writing sound more diverse.
Only using a noun
- Mom found a dog. Mom decided Mom would find the dog’s owner.
Repetitive writing like this distracts readers from your tale. A story becomes exhausting to read when the same word finds purchase in every sentence. To fix this you can use pronouns like “she” and “her” as replacements for the word “mom”.
Introducing a pronoun
- My Mom found a dog. She decided she would find the dog’s owner.
Using pronouns to diversify your key noun lets the words in your story flow better. It makes your content more readable.
Common types of pronouns in English | Image
What Are Antecedents?
Pronouns serve many functions. You can use the pronoun “it” to replace a myriad of things. For example, “it” could replace love, a bat, or the moon.
You can replace antecedents with a pronoun. Antecedents are nouns or noun phrases that you can find at the start of a sentence. The examples below italicize the antecedent and bold the replacing pronoun.
- The dolphin swam so fast I could not see it.
- I lost my book, but I found it in the dryer.
In some instances, you do not have to state the antecedents explicitly. When the context is clear you do have to state it. When someone is speaking you usually understand who the pronouns “I”, “me”, and “you” regard.
You can introduce a pronoun before stating the antecedent; however, in complex sentences doing so could result in confusion.
- I would destroy them, but the police protect the bad boy gang.
Types of Pronouns
What are the interrogative pronouns?
You find interrogative pronouns in questions. Words like who, what, whose, and which are interrogative pronouns.
- Who are you?
What are the personal pronouns?
You employ a personal pronoun to replace someone’s name. Personal pronouns reveal the case, number, person, and gender of the name it replaces. In school personal pronouns are the pronoun types teachers usually talk about.
Examples of personal pronouns
Relative pronouns link relative clauses to independent clauses. Some people refer to this class of pronouns as adjective pronouns. They get this nickname because they act like adjectives by describing nouns.
A relative clause is a type of dependent clause. You can use it to include extra details about something specific found in a sentence. Words like “what”, “who”, “which”, “whom”, and “that” are relative pronouns.
The relative pronoun “who” refers to human beings. In contrast, you describe animals/things as “that”.
- The girl who was here yesterday called again.
- My dog, which is over 1o years old, is still energetic.
If the introduced clause is nonrestrictive you need a comma. Nonrestrictive clauses act as an aside or more aptly like parenthesis. The commas let you know additional information is coming.
In contrast, restrictive clauses provide essential information. These clauses define the noun. Depending on the type of clause a relative pronoun introduces you may or may not need to employ a comma.
The difference between who and whom
“Who” and “whom” are the two relative pronouns that cause the most confusion. “Who” operates as a subject pronoun. Other subject pronouns include I, she, we, he, and they.
In contrast, “whom” works as an object pronoun. It functions like the words “me”, “them”, “him”, “her” and “us”. When the pronoun operates as a verb or preposition’s object use the object form.
The object form is not usually as perplexing as the subject form. The object pronoun usually follows the verb or preposition it modifies.
You would write “Is this dog for us?” instead of “Is this dog for we?”
“Whom” creates confusion because it comes before the modifying preposition or verb.
Example of correct usage of whom
- Whom did you visit last evening?
- A girl, whom I have never met, is looking for you.
Example of incorrect usage of whom
- Whom is it?
Substitute a personal pronoun for whom/who to see which one works in the sentence
- Instead of writing “Who/whom bought the cat?” write “She/her brought the cat?
In this example, the subject pronoun works best so you would choose “who”. If the object pronoun worked best you would use “whom.”
You call pronouns that do not refer to a specific person, place, or thing indefinite. Examples of these non-particular pronouns include:
- no one
When these pronouns replace a subject the verb that follows is usually singular.
- Everybody beat the clock.
When the object and subject of a verb refer to the same person or thing you use a reflexive pronoun. Self and selves end this type of pronoun. Examples of reflexive pronouns include myself, himself, yourself, herself, itself, ourselves, themselves, and yourselves.
- She told herself the truth.
Intensive pronouns are the same as reflexive pronouns, but they perform differently. They underline the importance of something.
- I made the cake by myself.
This emphasizes the fact the baker didn’t need help to make the cake.
Possessive pronouns fall into two categories: limiting or absolute. Limiting possessive pronouns include my, your, its, his, whose, their, our, and her. Use these words to show that the antecedent possesses something.
- The dog liked her chew toy.
Apply the absolute possessive pronoun when something belongs to the antecedent.
- He didn’t finish his.
Demonstrative pronouns take the place of previously stated nouns and noun phrases. Those, that, this, and these are demonstrative pronouns. You wield “this” when referencing one specific item closeby and “these” when referencing a series of specific items nearby.
Demonstrative pronouns depend on a specific reference. Without the proper context in place, you cannot understand these pronouns.
- I went to the garden, these flowers were my favorite.
- When was this purchased?
Without a sentence explaining the context, there is no way to decipher what type of flowers “these” indicates. Similarly, there is no way to figure out what “this” references without context.
In addition, you employ “that” for singular far away items while “those” refers to many items far away. All demonstrative pronouns express distance either metaphorically or physically.
The reciprocal pronoun is used to show an action or feeling which is reciprocated, words in this category are one another and each other.
- They are happy with each other.
- The two friends really care about one another.
Related: list of pronouns in English.