Pronouns: Advanced

Types of pronoun

There are eight categories of pronouns, but of these, three categories (personal, reflexive and possessive) are sometimes called the central pronouns because they express contrasts of number, person and gender. Arguably, with the central pronouns it is easier to identify the noun or noun phrase which the pronoun replaces.

Personal pronouns:

  • identify the 'person' of a text; the speaker or the addressee.

    I you he/she/it we they me him/her/it us them

    Eg They knew it was too late.

Possessive pronouns:

  • indicate ownership. They can stand on their own or in front of a noun. When they precede a noun they are determiners.

    mine yours his/hers/its ours yours theirs
    my, your, his, her, its, our, your, their (determiners)

    eg That car is mine.
    That's my car. (determiner)

Reflexive pronouns:

  • expresses a link to another noun or pronoun in a clause.

    myself yourself himself ourselves yourselves themselves

    eg I chose the car myself. ('myself' links back to 'I')

Relative pronouns:

  • these connect a subordinate clause to a noun phrase.

    who whom whose which what

    eg I know the girl who won the race. ('who' refers to the 'girl')

Interrogative pronouns:

  • these ask questions which refer to other nouns.

    who? whom? whose? which? what?

    eg Who ate my chocolate? ('who' refers to a person)

Demonstrative pronouns:

  • these express a contrast between 'near' and 'distant'.

    this/that these/those

    eg This man is taller than that man.

Reciprocal pronouns:

  • these express a reciprocal relationship between two pronouns.

    each other one another

    eg Romeo and Juliet loved one another.

Indefinite pronouns:

  • a slightly amorphous category of pronoun! They express a notion of quantity.

    everyone someone nobody anybody all much many some each more less

    eg Nobody knew where the money had gone.

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