Pronouns are words that is used in place of a noun or noun phrase.
Personal Pronouns are the most commonly used pronouns.
Singular personal pronouns: I, me, you, she, her, he, him, it
Plural personal pronouns: we, us, you, they, them
Example: Mary baked a cake for Joe = She baked it for him.
Possessive Pronouns are personal pronouns that show ownership or
Singular possessive pronouns: my, mine, your, yours, his, her,
hers, its Plural possessive pronouns: our, ours, your, yours,
Example: I found Jack's book = I found his book.
Demonstrative Pronouns call attention to their antecedents.
An antecedent is the word or words to which a pronoun refers.
Singular demonstrative pronouns: this, that
Plural demonstrative pronouns: these, those
Example: The big computer is his = That is his computer.
Reflexive Pronouns reflect the action back to the noun or
pronoun that has just been named (ends in -self or -selves).
Singular reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, herself...
Plural reflexive pronouns: ourselves, themselves, yourselves
Example: She will find it herself.
Hint: When a pronoun is used in a sentence, it should always
be clear to what or to whom the pronoun is referring. Too many
pronouns in a sentence can be very confusing:
Jack went there to do that, but he didn't know where she was.
A pronoun is a substitute for a noun. The pronouns or nouns
that they refer to are called antecedents. A pronoun and its
antecedent are in agreement if they are both singular or both
Example: Mary finished readig her book.
Frequent misuse of plural pronouns occur with two types of
singular antecedents. They are indefinite pronouns and generic
Indefinite Pronouns refer to nonspecific persons or things.
They are any, either, everything, no one, each, anybody,
everybody, neither, someone, anyone, everyone, none, and
Example: In class everyone does his or her [not their] homework.
Generic Nouns represent a typical member or any member of a
group, such as a typical student or any lawyer.
Example: Every student must work hard if he or she wants to
pass the exam.
To correct a mistakenly plural pronoun referring to a singular
general noun, you can do one of the three things mentioned above.
Suggestions for Working with Generic Nouns
1) Treat collective nouns as singular unless the meaning is
clearly plural. Collective nouns include such words as: jury,
committee, crowd, family, audience, couple, troop, team, class.
Ordinarily the group functions as a unit, so the noun should be
considered singular; however, if the members of the group
function as individuals, the noun should be treated as plural.
Example: The O.J. Simpson jury has reached its decision.
Compare: The Illini crowd clapped their hands.
2) Compound antecedents connected by "and" should be treated as
Example: Jack and Joe climbed up a hill and fetched their pail
3) When compound antecedents are connected by "or" or "nor" (or
by "either...or" or "neither...nor"), make the pronoun agree with
the nearer antecedent.
Either Jack or Mary should be fired from her job.
Neither the art student nor the computer majors could remember
Noun and Pronoun Case
Case refers to how nouns and pronouns are used in relation to
the other words in a sentence. The three cases are subjective,
objective, and possessive.
Subjective Case is sometimes called the nominative case. A noun
or pronoun is in the subjective when it is used as the subject
of the sentence or as a predicate noun. A predicate noun follows
a form of the "be" verb, and it renames the subject of the
sentence. Here are some examples:
Mary hopes to finish her homework tonight.
Joe danced in the statewide competition.
She is a clown. (The word clown is a predicate noun)
Objective Case is a noun or pronoun that is used as a direct
object, an indirect object, or an object of the preposition.
My sister prepared the dinner.
His cat crawled under the table.
The teacher gave us the money back.
Possessive Case is a noun or pronoun that is used to show
ownership of an object. Here are two examples:
Tom washed Mary's bag.
Where did you find his pen?
A Chart of Pronoun Cases
Subjective Objective Possessive
I Me My, Mine
You You Your, Yours
He Him His
She Her Her, Hers
It It Its
We Us Our, Ours
They Them Their, Theirs
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