English Grammar Series: Pronouns

Articles, Pronouns

Here you will get all the information about Pronouns with definition, Types of Pronouns and also Solved Examples.

Pronouns: Definition, Types and Examples

We may say:

  • Hari is absent, because Hari is ill.
  • But it is better to avoid the repetition of the Noun Hari, and say-
  • Hari is absent, because he is ill.

A word that is thus used instead of a noun is called a Pronoun {Pronoun means for-anoun.]

Def.- A Pronoun is a word used instead of a Noun.

Read the following sentences:

  • I am young.
  • We are young.
  • You are young.
  • They are young.
  • He (she, it) is young.
  • I, we, you, he, (she, it), they are called Personal Pronouns because they stand for the three persons.
    (i) the person speaking
    (ii) the person spoken to
    (iii) the person spoken of
  • The Pronouns I and we, which denote the person or persons speaking, are said to be Personal Pronouns of the First Person.
  • The Pronoun you, which denotes the person or persons spoken to, is said to be a Personal Pronoun of the Second Person. You is used both in the singular and plural.
  • The pronouns he (she) and they, which denote the person or persons spoken of, are said to be Personal Pronouns of the Third Person. It, although it denotes the thing spoken of, is also called a Personal Pronoun of the Third Person. [The Personal Pronouns of the Third Person are, strictly speaking, Demonstrative Pronouns.]

Forms of the Personal Pronouns

The following are the different forms of the Personal Pronouns :-

  • FIRST PERSON (Masculine or Feminine)
    • Nominative: I/We
    • Possessive: my, mine/our, ours
    • Accusative: me/us
  • SECOND PERSON (Masculine or Feminine)
    • Nominative — You
    • Possessive — Your, Yours
    • Accusative — You
    • Nominative: he, she, it/they
    • Possessive: his/her, hers/its/their, theirs
    • Accusative: him, her, it/ them

It will be seen that the Possessive Cases of most of the Personal Pronouns have two forms. Of these the forms my, our, your, her, their, are called Possessive Adjectives because they are used with nouns and do the work of Adjectives; as,

  • This is my book.
  • Those are your books.
  • That is her book.

Possessive Adjectives are somethings called Pronominal Adjectives, as they are formed

from pronouns.

The word his is used both as an Adjective and as a Pronoun; as

  • This is his book. (Possessive Adjective)
  • This book is his. (Possessive Pronoun)

In the following sentences the words in italics are Possessive Pronouns:-

  • This book is mine.
  • Those books are yours.
  • That book is hers.
  • That idea of yours is excellent.

The pronoun of the Third Person has three Genders:

  • Masculine — he
  • Feminine — she
  • Neuter — it

It- The Pronoun it is used:

  • For things without life:
    • Here is your book; take it away.
  • For animals, unless we clearly wish to speak of them as male and female:
    • He loves his dog and cannot do without it. The horse fell and broke its leg.
  • For a young child, unless we clearly wish to refer to the sex:
    • When I saw the child it was crying.
    • That baby has torn its clothes.
  • To refer to some statement going before:
    • He is telling what is not true; as he knows it.
    • He deserved his punishment; as he knew it.
  • As a provisional and temporary subject before the verb to be when the real subject follows; as,

1.It is easy to find fault. [To find fault is easy.]

2.It is doubtful whether he will come.

3.It is certain that you are wrong.

  • To give emphasis to the noun or pronoun following:

1.It was you who began the quarrel.

2.It was I who first protested.

3.It was at Versailles that the treaty was made.

4.It is a silly fish that is caught twice with the same bail.

5.It is an ill wind [hat blows nobody good.

  • As an indefinite nominative of an impersonal verb:

1.It rains.

2.It snows.

3.It thunders.

Impersonal Pronouns:

  • The Pronoun it here seems to stand for no noun whatever, though this can be readily supplied from the verb. Thus, ‘It rains’ means ‘The rain rains.’ It so used is called an Impersonal Pronoun. So also the verb rains is here called an Impersonal Verb.
  • In speaking of the weather or the time:

1.It is fine.

2.It is winter.

3.It is ten o’clock.

  • Since a Personal Pronoun is used instead of a Noun, it must be of the same number, gender and person as the Noun for which it stands:
    • Rama is a kind boy. He has lent his bicycle lo Govind.
    • Sita helps her mother in household work. She also does her lesson.
    • Those beggars are idle. They refuse to work for their living.

Collective Pronouns:

  • When a Pronoun (It will be noted that we use the word ‘Pronoun’ in § 123-128 without observing the distinction pointed out in § 119 between the forms, my, they, her, our, your, their (which are called Possessive Adjectives) and the forms mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, theirs (which are called Possessive Pronouns)) stands for a Collective Noun, it must be in the Singular Number (and Neuter Gender) if the Collective Noun is viewed as a whole:
    • The army had to suffer terrible privations in its march.
    • The fleet will reach its destination in a week.
    • The crew mutinied and murdered its officers.
    • After a few minutes the jury gave its verdict.
  • If the Collective Noun conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole, the Pronoun standing for it must be of the Plural Number:
    • The jury were divided in their opinions.
    • The committee decided the matter without leaving their seats.

Points to Remember While Using Pronouns:

  • When two or more Singular Nouns are joined by and, the Pronoun used for them must be Plural:
    • Rama and Had work hard. They are praised by their teacher.
    • Both Sita and Savitri are tired; they have gone home.
  • But when two Singular Nouns joined by and refer to the same person or thing, the Pronoun used must of course be Singular:
    • The Secretary and Treasurer is negligent of his duty.
  • When two Singular Nouns joined by and are preceded by each or every, the Pronoun must be Singular:
    • Every soldier and every sailor was in his place.
  • When two or more Singular Nouns are joined by or or either…or, neither… nor, the Pronoun is generally Singular:
    • Rama or Hari must lend his hand.
    • Either Sita or Amina forgot to take her parasol.
    • Neither Abdul nor Karim has done his lesson.
  • When a Plural Noun and a Singular Noun are joined by or or nor, the Pronoun must be in the Plural:
    • Either the manager or his assistants failed in their duty.
  • When a pronoun refers to more than one noun or pronoun of different persons, it must be of the first person plural in preference to the third:
    • You and I have done our duty.
    • You and Hari have idled away your time.

Important Points Regarding Pronouns:

  • Good manners require that we should say’ You and I’ not ‘I and you’.
    • ‘You and he’ not ‘he and you’.
    • ‘Hari and I’ not ‘I and Hari’.
    • ‘He and F not T and he’.
    • You and I must work together.
    • You and he must mend your ways.
    • Hari and I are old school friends.
    • He and I can never pull on together.
  • Each of the personal pronouns, I, he, she, we, they, has a different form for the accusative case, namely, me, him, her, us, them. So, It is a common mistake to use / for me, when the pronoun is connected by a conjunction (and, or) with some other word in the accusative case.
  • Study the following correct sentences:
    • The presents are for you and me (Not, I)
    • My uncle asked my brother and me to dinner..
  • Note that but is a preposition in the following sentence:
    • Nobody will help you but me. (not: I) Take care to use the accusative form after but in such cases.

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