Types of Pronouns for English Grammar
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Types of Pronouns
There are many types of pronouns. The most important are personal, impersonal, relative, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive, intensive, reciprocal, and indefinite. As a first step in learning these terms, examine the following examples of each type:
- Personal pronouns: I, you, he, she, we, they, one
- Impersonal pronouns: it, they
- Relative pronouns: who, which, that, whoever, whichever
- Demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those
- Interrogative pronouns: who, which, what, whoever, whatever
- Reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, itself
- Intensive pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, itself
- Reciprocal pronouns: each other, one another
- Indefinite pronouns: each, either, any, anyone, some, someone, all
Personal and Impersonal Pronouns
Personal pronouns refer to people. Impersonal pronouns refer to everything but people.
Personal and impersonal pronouns can be singular or plural. They can also be in the subjective, possessive, or objective case. Personal pronouns may also indicate gender.
The following table summarizes personal and impersonal pronouns in number, case, and gender:
The following sentences illustrate the uses of personal and impersonal pronouns in each of the three cases:
- I (We, You, They) see the entire scene.
- He (She, It, One) sees the entire scene.
- The mistake was mine (ours, yours, hers, his, theirs).
- Mine (Ours, Yours, His, Hers, Theirs) was the only part that required revision.
- The editor criticizes me (us, him, her, one, them, it).
- Relative pronouns refer to people and objects.
- They are used in the three cases:
|which||of which, whose||which, whom|
Who refers to people; that to people or objects; which to animals, objects, or collective nouns.
The following sentences illustrate the uses of who, that, and which in all their cases:
- A woman who wants to succeed in business must dedicate herself to that end.
- The boat that won the race had an outstanding crew.
- Which of the contracts was witnessed by a notary public?
- Whose automobile gave out first?
- I have had enough of that.
- The problem of which you spoke has a simple solution.
- The board of trustees, whose unanimous approval is needed, failed to act in time.
- The minor literary figures to whom you refer surely merit no further study.
- You cannot object to that!
- The journals to which he contributes make no claims about his professional integrity.
- American authors to whom respect is due include Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner.
Whoever, whomever, whichever, and whatever are also classified as relative pronouns:
- Whoever said Amy would become an outstanding computer programmer must have had a crystal ball.
- Give it to whomever you decide needs most help.
- You have three choices: whichever you overlook will bring you nothing but trouble.
- Whatever soldiers do, they must be prepared to stand by their actions.
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