Definition and Types of Pronoun

In this article you will learn about general definition of pronoun, definition of pronoun in major dictionaries, examples of pronoun, types of pronoun, intensive pronoun vs reflexive pronoun and at last you will find a quiz on pronoun with 10 MCQs. 

definition and types of pronoun

Definition of Pronoun

Definition of pronoun: Pronoun is defined as a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. It takes place of a noun. Read the paragraph written below to understand definition of pronoun.

 (Jam is a boy of sixteen. Jam is studying in 9th class. Jam has two brothers. Jam loves playing football. Jam is captain of his team.)

Look at above paragraph. The name Jam looks strange in every sentence due to repetition of noun Jam. We replace it with pronoun to make a sentence beautiful and easy to avoid word redundancy. We will replace it with appropriate pronoun and read it again.

Jam is a boy of sixteen. He is studying in 9th class and has two brothers. He loves playing football and he is captain of his team.

Definition of Pronoun in Major Dictionaries

Definitions of pronoun vary according to different dictionaries. See definition of pronoun in two major dictionaries below.

Definition of Pronoun in Merriam Webster Dictionary

Merriam Webster dictionary defines pronoun as: “any of small set of words in a language that are used for noun or noun phrase and whose referent are named or understood in context.” 

Definition of Pronoun in Oxford Learner’s Dictionary

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines pronoun as: “a word that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase, for example, he, it, her, me, them, etc.”

Types of Pronoun

Pronouns are categorized into many types. Main types of pronoun include: personal pronoun, possessive pronoun, indefinite pronoun, reflective pronoun, intensive pronoun, demonstrative pronoun, interrogative pronoun, and reflexive pronoun. All types of pronoun are elaborated below.

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns refer to a person’s name. We use personal pronouns as a substitute for a person’s name. There are two types of personal pronoun:  Subjective and objective pronouns.

1. Subjective Pronoun: Subjective pronouns replace the subject in a sentence.

Common subjective pronouns are I, we, you, he, she, it, and they

ExampleI love watching TV.

2. Objective pronouns: Objective pronouns replace the object in a sentence.

Common objective pronouns are me, us, you, him, her, it, and them

Examples: She gave him a present on his birthday.

personal pronoun

Possessive pronoun

Possessive pronouns are the pronouns that show ownership and possession in a sentence. We categorize possessive pronoun into two types: 

(1) Strong possessive pronoun

The strong possessive pronouns include yoursmine, his, hersitstheirs, yours, and ours. They refer back to a noun or noun phrase already used, replacing it to avoid repetition: “I said that pen was mine.” Strong possessive pronouns are sometime called absolute possessive pronoun.

(2) Weak possessive pronoun.

The weak possessive pronouns include your, myher, hisits, theirour, and, your. Their function is as a determiner in front of a noun to express whom something belongs to: “I said that’s my pen.” Sometime we call them possessive adjectives.

Indefinite Pronoun

Indefinite pronouns refer to something that in not definite in a sentence, they do not refer to particular thing or person. We use them when an object does not need to be specifically identified. There are two main types of indefinite pronoun: Singular indefinite pronoun and plural indefinite pronoun.

1. Singular Indefinite Pronoun: We use singular indefinite pronouns for the singular objects and not for plural.

Singular indefinite pronouns include: someone, somebody, something, no one, nobody, nothing, everyone, everybody, everything, anybody, another, anyone, each, anything, either, other, one, neither, and much

2. Plural Indefinite Pronoun: Plural indefinite pronouns are used for the plural objects and not for singular.

Plural indefinite pronouns include many, several, few, others, and both.

Relative Pronouns

A relative pronoun is a pronoun that relates the relative clause to another clause within a sentence. In addition, introduces the relative clause or an adjective clause. In mostly cases it acts as a subject of the relative clause. The most commonly used relative pronouns are mentioned below.

Whom, whoever, whomever, who, that, which and whose

Example in a sentence:

She does not know which pack of pencil you want.

Which pack of pencil you want” is a relative clause, and the relative pronoun “which” has linked it to the main clause.

Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns emphasize, or intensify nouns and pronouns and we define it as a pronoun that ends in self or selves. Intensive pronouns place emphasis on its antecedent by referring back to another noun or pronoun used earlier in the sentence. An intensive pronoun is approximately identical to a reflexive pronoun. Intensive pronouns are also sometimes called emphatic pronouns.

 Intensive pronouns are himself, myself, themselves, itself, herself, yourselves, ourselves, and yourself,

Example in a sentence:

myself like to sing.

Jerry herself is her worst critic.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are the nouns that take place of a noun that’s already been mentioned in a sentence. Demonstrative pronouns can be singular or plural. Five main demonstrative pronouns are: these, those, such, this, that,

Example in a sentence:

These are beautiful.

Do not eat that.

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun often stands for something that we are not aware of yet, because we are asking about it. We use these pronouns specifically to ask questions. These pronouns are special because they all start with “Wh”, which is quite easy to remember.

Most commonly used interrogative pronouns are whose, what, whom, which, and who.

The other words like “whichever” and “whatsoever” are the words that we use as interrogative pronouns.

Words with ‘wh’ that are not interrogative pronouns. There are many other words that start with Wh but they are not interrogative pronouns. Because they are just words that start with ‘wh’ and are in questions!. “When” is not an interrogative pronoun neither is “where” nor “why”. Moreover, unlike other pronouns, sometime interrogative pronouns do not have antecedents because you are not yet sure what they really are!

Example in a sentence:

What is your nickname?

Whose pen is this?

Whatsoever do you suggest by that?

Whom were you talking with last night?

Which of these three do you like?

Sentence in which ‘wh’ words are not interrogative pronoun:

When do you have to go to gymnasium?

He doesn’t know where Ali was living last week.

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns and intensive pronouns are a bit complex types of pronoun and are similar, but the difference between them is that intensive pronouns are not essential to a sentence’s meaning. Meanwhile, reflexive pronouns are. In addition, they are used when the subject and the object of a sentence refer to the same person or thing. Reflexive pronouns end in -selves or -self.

Reflexive pronouns are: yourself, himself, ourselves, itself, themselves, herself, myself, yourselves.

Example in a sentence:

She told herself to spend all vacations at home.

He bought himself a new phone.

Intensive pronoun vs Reflexive pronouns

What is the difference between intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns?

Here is easy way to differentiate an intensive pronouns and reflexive pronouns.  Just remove pronoun from the sentence; if it is an intensive pronoun, the sentence will still make sense. If the sentence no longer makes sense when the pronoun is removed, it’s a reflexive pronoun.

Reciprocal pronouns

A reciprocal pronoun is a pronoun that we use to identify a feeling or any kind of action that is reciprocated among two or more than two. That is why; it always refers to two or more than two persons. For example, Jane is laughing at Lizzy and Lizzy is laughing at Jane. So we say:

Jane and Lizzy are laughing at each other.

Each other and One another are the two reciprocal pronouns are not individual words but they are phrases. While using them, there must be two or more things, persons, or groups involved. Moreover, they all must be acting the same action. 

Some more examples are:

Paul and Jam help each other.

Both teams fought hard against each other.

Why do you laugh at each other?

All the students gave presents to one another.

 Distributive Pronouns

Distributive pronoun is a pronoun that describes a member of a group separately from the group and not collectively or including in that group. It refers to a thing or a person in a group. We use this pronoun to describe all the individual members of a particular group. Distributive pronoun are commonly used with plural noun and singular verb

Distributive pronouns that are commonly used are each, either, every, neither, none, everyone, and any.

Example in a sentence:

Each of the boys writes a poem 

Neither of the pens is black.

In this article you learned general definition of pronoun, examples of pronoun, definition of pronoun in major dictionaries, and types of pronoun.

Welcome to your quiz on pronoun

Pronoun is defined as a word that replaces a ____ in a sentence.
I, we, he, she, they, are ___ pronouns.
Me, us, him, her, them are ____ pronouns.
There are ___ types of personal pronoun.
Possessive pronouns show___.
Anyone is a ____ pronoun.
Whom, whoever, whomever, who, that, which and whose are____ pronouns.
______ pronouns are the nouns that take place of a noun that’s already been mentioned in a sentence.
“Jane and Lizzy are laughing at each other.” here “each other” is ___ pronoun.
Either, every, neither, none, everyone, and any are ____ pronouns

About Authoress: The article “Definition and Types of Pronoun” was written by Sayeda Javaria. You can reach her at javaria.hanan@gmail.com or view her profile at Sayeda Javaria Hanan .

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