VIDEO FOR PRONOUN
How To Use Personal Pronouns
It's totally cool if someone doesn't identify as a he or a she and wants to be a they. If you really want to be an ally, consider asking what pronoun someone prefers.
Origin of pronoun
grammar notes for pronoun
Words nearby pronoun
What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is a type of word that replaces a noun (reminder, a noun is a person, place, or thing). Pronouns are words like she, you, him, them, this, and who, to name a few. For example, in the sentence “Carol likes apples,” the specific proper noun Carol can be replaced with the pronoun she: “She likes apples.”
English has several categories of pronouns.
- Personal pronouns replace people and things. They can be singular or plural, depending on what they are replacing. They can differ depending whether they are being used as subjects or objects. Personal pronouns include I, me, we, us, you, he, she, it, and they. The sentence “Mary likes the car” can be rewritten as “She likes it.”
- Possessive pronouns are personal pronouns that indicate that the original noun owns or possesses something. They can also be singular or plural. Possessive pronouns include mine, theirs, your, hers, its, and ours. If you want to say a wallet belongs to your brother using a possessive pronoun, you can say, “That’s his wallet.”
- Reflexive pronouns are used when the original noun performs an action on itself. Reflexive pronouns include myself, yourself, itself, herself, themself, and themselves. When you look in a mirror, you can say you are looking at yourself.
- Reciprocal pronouns are like reflexive pronouns but for groups of two or more nouns. All members of the group perform the same action on all the other members of the group. Each other (used for a group of two) and one another (used for a group of more than two) are the only two reciprocal pronouns. For example: “My entire family loves one another and takes care of each other.”
- Relative pronouns include who, whom, which, that, and what. These pronouns show a relationship between the noun they stand for and something else. In “Rex is the dog that lives in that house,” the word that connects the dog with a fact about where the dog lives.
- Demonstrative pronouns point out someone or something. The four demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those. This and these are typically used for things that are near the speaker or close by, while that and those are typically used for things that are somewhat farther away—especially things you might point to. For example: “I like these, not those over there.”
- Interrogative pronouns begin questions. They include who, whom, whose (which are used to refer to people), which, what (which are used to refer to things), and when (which involves time). For example: “Who are you, when did you get here, and what are you doing here?”
- Indefinite pronouns refer to people and things but not to a specific person or thing. Indefinite pronouns include someone, somebody, any, some, and all. When you can’t go to a concert you bought a ticket for, you might say, “I will find somebody to take my ticket.”
Why are pronouns important?
The first records of the word pronoun come from the 1520s. It originally comes from the Latin prōnōmen, which is made from pro-, which is used to indicate substitution, and nomen, meaning “name.” The word noun also comes from nomen. Pronouns themselves predate English. They were used even in ancient languages, such as Ancient Latin and Greek.
We use pronouns because it makes saying or writing things easier. See how strange it would be if we never used pronouns: Joe looked for Sarah in Sarah’s house but couldn’t find Sarah in Sarah’s room. So Joe asked Sarah’s parents where Sarah was. It’s much easier to say, Joe looked for Sarah in her house but couldn’t find her in her room. So he asked her parents where she was.
Generally, people use the noun before they use the pronoun that refers to the noun. That’s because others might not know what the pronoun stands for if the noun isn’t used first. For example, storming into a room and saying, “Where is it?” without first saying what it is will often cause confusion.
Did you know ... ?
English has some pronouns that we no longer commonly use. Thou and thee were largely replaced with you, and thy and thine were replaced with your and yours.
What are real-life examples of pronouns?
Pronouns are a major part of English. Using them can make speech and writing more concise, but it can also cause confusion if they’re not used clearly or properly.
Deleted a tweet for a misuse of a word. Sorry for the two people who liked it but I hate using incorrect possessive pronouns
I can handle most other typos ha
— BAM Ariana Michaels (@ArianaDMichaels) April 8, 2020
"Could something as simple as a pronoun reflect, or even affect, the way voters understand power?" Excellent piece by @jessicabennett (with a shout-out to @americandialect's choice of singular "they" as Word of the Decade). https://t.co/xdJoSklDuA
— Ben Zimmer (@bgzimmer) January 24, 2020
My latest post on the Web of Language: The oldest genderless pronouns are lo and zo, for French (1765), and e, es, em, for English (1841). https://t.co/DYjMMEoo8E
— Dennis Baron (@DrGrammar) July 16, 2020
What other words are related to pronouns?
Which of the following words is a pronoun?
How to use pronoun in a sentence
They raged that they may be reacting to a riot today, but tomorrow they’ll block you for using the wrong pronouns.The Right’s Message to Silicon Valley: 'Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee'|David French|January 16, 2021|Time
She and her husband had carefully named their offspring according to family tradition, and now one of them wanted a new name and new pronouns that sounded wrong to Hassouri’s ears.
It can disambiguate pronouns, translate, infer, analogize, and even perform some forms of common-sense reasoning and arithmetic.Welcome to the Next Level of Bullshit - Issue 89: The Dark Side|Raphaël Millière|September 9, 2020|Nautilus
This is the task of identifying all the proper names in a document and figuring out which pronouns in the text refer to which people or which organizations.
Since the Ghostbusters are a group, they’d be described using the pronoun them.Can You Correct These Grammatically Incorrect Song Lyrics?|Brigid Walsh|August 5, 2020|Everything After Z
Oh, the heaven and hell wrought by the casual use of a pronoun.
He placed particular emphasis on the pronoun when he spoke the title aloud.
There's UP and US, and UT—an old name for the first (and last) tone, do, and WE (the funnest pronoun) and WO, which is woe.National Scrabble Day: A Poem So You’ll Know All 101 Two-Letter Words|David Bukszpan|April 13, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The pronoun is deliberate: the Sims was one of the first games to be played by women in significant numbers.SimCity Is Smarter Than You (Even If You’re an Urban Planner)|Josh Dzieza|February 26, 2013|DAILY BEAST
He asks, “What magic is there in the pronoun ‘my,’ that should justify us in overturning the decisions of impartial truth?”Why Favoritism Is Virtuous: The Case Against Fairness|Stephen T. Asma|December 7, 2012|DAILY BEAST
The subject pronoun, when unemphatic, is not expressed, but understood from the termination of the verb.
The relative object pronoun is often repeated as a personal pronoun, so that the verb has its object expressed twice.
The third personal pronoun—he, she, it—in all its cases is especially uncertain in its references.English: Composition and Literature|W. F. (William Franklin) Webster
That is my excuse for the free use of the personal pronoun, not to make prominent the person, but to emphasize the reality.Silver Chimes in Syria|W. S. Nelson
The disjunctive forms of the pronoun are also sometimes preserved before verbs and adjectives.The Indian in his Wigwam|Henry R. Schoolcraft
British Dictionary definitions for pronoun
Word Origin for pronoun
Cultural definitions for pronoun
A word that takes the place of a noun. She, herself, it, and this are examples of pronouns. If we substituted pronouns for the nouns in the sentence “Please give the present to Karen,” it would read “Please give it to her.”