Pronouns serve an important role in spoken and written English. Without pronouns, our sentences would be confusing, wordy, and redundant. Below are explanations and examples of the various types of pronouns. Hopefully, this information will help you to use pronouns more effectively.
What Is a Pronoun?
A pronoun is a word that is commonly used as a substitute for a noun. A pronoun refers to a noun that has already been used in the writing. There are several different types of pronouns.
Susan (proper noun) is Mary’s best friend. Mary has known her (pronoun referring to Susan) for years.
Types of Pronouns
Personal Pronouns (Most Common Type of Pronouns)
Personal Pronouns Used as a Subject
There are three types of personal pronouns used as subjects:
- First Person: I, we
- Second Person: You, you
- Third Person: He, she, it, they
- I love to watch scary movies.
- She likes to wake up early.
- It is a very large package.
- We are going to a concert tonight.
- You are all welcome to stay for dinner.
- They are moving to a new house.
Personal Pronouns Used as Objects
There are also three types of personal pronouns used as objects:
- First Person: Me, us
- Second Person: You, you
- Third Person: Him, her, it, them
Here are some examples of personal pronouns used as objects:
- John helped me carry the packages.
- I will show you the photos.
- They took him to the beach.
- Bob did not know how to use it.
- The plan was a surprise to us.
- We are glad to meet you.
- Sarah baked a cake for them.
Other Types of Pronouns
An indefinite pronoun is used in place of a noun when it is not necessary to name it specifically. This type of pronoun includes words such as something, everyone, neither, anything, etc.
- Everybody loves Grandma’s apple pie.
- Someone ate my candy.
This type of pronoun refers to things or people belonging to someone. The most common are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs.
- Ours is the blue house on the left.
- My hat is warmer than yours.
This type of pronoun refers to certain people or things in order to differentiate them. The most common pronouns of this type are the following: this, that, these, and those.
- I’m going to buy these, but not the others.
- We like this, better than those.
A relative pronoun is a type of pronoun used to refer to nouns mentioned previously, like people, places, things, etc.
The most common relative pronouns are which, that, whose, whoever, whomever, who, and whom.
- The student who won the spelling bee studied hard.
- The paint that I picked out is too dark.
- Whoever wins the race will receive the trophy.
The most important rule for pronouns is to properly use them as a subject or an object. As demonstrated above, “Me like ice cream,” would be an incorrect use of an object pronoun as a subject pronoun. Of course, “I like ice cream” is correct. If you select a subject for an object, your sentence is also incorrect. For example, “I went shopping with she,” instead of “I went shopping with her.” Fortunately, it is usually easy to identify your mistakes just by reading the sentence aloud.