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Pronouns 18,310 views

Teacher/Instructor Katie Aquino
Katie Aquino

Writing, Grammar, Literature, ACT Prep
Education: M.Ed.,Stanford University

Katie is an enthusiastic teacher who strives to make connections between literature and student’s every day lives.

Pronouns are defined as words used in place of nouns. The antecedent is the noun that the pronoun replaces. There are six types of pronouns: personal, reflexive and intensive, demonstrative, interrogative, relative and indefinite. One trick when identifying pronouns is to check to see if it has an antecedent. If it does not have an antecedent, it is not a pronoun.

Let’s talk about pronouns. Now these are probably the most often used part of speech that we have. And there are simple words that stand in for other nouns in a sentence.

There are six types of pronouns, and I have yet to be in a classroom where, a teacher has made me memorize each of these six types. But I want to explain them to you, so that you are aware of what they are. Because then, you are going to be much more likely to be able to pick out any pronoun, when it comes to sentences.

So let’s talk about it. The first most common type of pronouns, are the personal pronouns. So they describe a person or a thing that is being spoken about. Things like I, me, mine, us, him, those we use all the time. Then we’ve got reflexive pronouns. And those are pronouns that refer back to the subject. I like to think of them as being used for emphasis. So things like himself, yourself, herself, those things that refer back to something we have already talked about.

We’ve got demonstrative pronouns then, and they point out specific things or people; this, that, those. With these you got to be careful though, sometimes they are easily confused with adjectives. So make sure when you are picking out pronouns, that these are actually standing in for a noun, not just describing a particular noun.

Next step are interrogative pronouns. These are pretty easy to remember. They introduce questions, so; who, what, which, whose. Often they are antecedent, or the words that they are sending in for is actually the answer to the question that’s being asked.

Relative pronouns, these are hard to catch sometimes because they slip by us. But they connect a noun to a description; that, who, which. So the teacher that gave me a homework, or the it should be the teacher who, the teacher who gave me homework. So those connect to that description.

And then finally these are the more difficult ones to work with; the indefinite pronouns. They refer to nouns that are not specifically named; all, each, several, everyone, everybody, so those non-specified nouns.

So now that we’ve kind of gone over these, let's take a look at some tips for helping you identify pronouns. Here’s my biggest tip. If you can't find the antecedent, and the antecedent to the pronoun is the noun that it's actually standing in for, then it’s probably not a pronoun. So anytime you stop to identify something as a pronoun, you should be able to say what that pronoun actually is. What is its antecedent, what’s it standing there for.

So let’s take a look at this paragraph, and see if we can start identifying the pronouns that are being used. So we have 'I need to go shopping tomorrow'. Well 'I' is our first personal pronoun here. And if I asked you what the antecedent would be, the antecedent would be the speaker. If it was me saying this, Katie would be the antecedent to 'I'. So I need to go shopping tomorrow so 'I', and we’ve got the repetition of that personal pronoun, can get my sister who is 24 a present.

So we’ve got ,who, and that’s one of those relative pronouns. And it's linking my sister to a description of her, telling us how old she is. Some of you may want to mark 'my' as a pronoun, but you got to look how it’s being used in the sentence here. Here it's telling who’s sister or which sister, which means it's answering one of those adjective questions. And it’s actually being used to modify sister. So this is not a pronoun here.

She had a birthday party the other day. So 'she' is referring to my sister. And it would sound a little bit awkward if everytime I wanted to say 'she', I had to say my sister. So this is another pronoun. She had a birthday party the other day and I, again, forgot something. And since something is one of those sticky indefinite pronouns. You don’t know what it is that I forgot, but I forgot something that's standing for that particular thing.

Here you get that its antecedent, which actually comes after the gift. 'She' again my sister, we wouldn’t have to say that again, is very picky .She doesn’t like 'this', and she doesn’t like 'that'. Those are those demonstrative pronouns that are pointing to something specific. Even though we don’t know what it is, 'this' and 'that' are standing in for particular nouns there.

I think even she, again standing in for my sister. And here is one of those not often used reflexive pronouns. So she herself, it’s just giving emphasis repeating that idea. Doesn’t know what she wants, wish me luck. So there is 'me' again in reference.

So you can see we use them quite frequently. But imagine if we had to plug in the noun that each one stands for, how awkward that would sound. So clearly you’ve got some easy ways to identify the six different types of pronouns. Again, don’t worry too much about the type, but make sure you are able to identify all of them.