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Types of Pronouns for English Grammar (page 2)

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Aug 12, 2011

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns replace nouns and function in the same manner as nouns in a sentence.

The principal demonstrative pronouns are: this, that, these, and those. (See demonstrative adjectives, page 103.) This and that are singular. These and those are plural.

Demonstrative pronouns have no gender, but they do have case.

Subjective Possessive Objective
this of this this
that of that that
these of these these
those of those those

The following sentences illustrate the uses of the demonstrative pronouns in all their cases:

Subjective Case

    This is more than I can possibly eat in one sitting.
    That remains my last obstacle to success in college.
    These are my only objections to the entire plan.
    Those were the bequests that caused so much family wrangling.

Possessive Case

    The principal advantages of this are economy, beauty, and strength.
    Of these, only a few are worthy of full consideration.
    Of those, none is worthy of serious comment.

Objective Case

    We agreed to give this our full attention.
    They decided against that at least ten years ago.
    The harsh weather killed these last month.
    Choose among those and let me know your decisions as soon as possible.

Other demonstrative pronouns commonly encountered are former, latter, other, such, so, same, and the ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc.

The following sentences illustrate the use of these demonstrative pronouns:

    The former, not the latter, was the one I intended to bid on.
    Such is not the case, despite what you think she said.
    He told her so.
    Now give me the other.
    Enclosed find payment for same.   (Old-fashioned business correspondence usage.)
    The first was my choice, even though the fourth and sixth also caught my eye.

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used in asking questions. The principal interrogative pronouns are who, which, and what. Whoever and whatever occur less frequently.

Who is used for people. Which and what are used for things. These pronouns do not have gender.

Subjective Possessive Objective
who whose whom
which of which which
what of what what

The following sentences illustrate the uses of interrogative pronouns in all their cases:

Subjective Case

    Who stole her collection of compact disks?
    Which performs best when the stock market is going down?
    What is going to happen to us after she leaves the company?

Possessive Case

    Whose did you take?
    Of which did you despair first?
    What do you think of all day long?

Objective Case

    Whom did you take to the senior prom?
    Which did you select?
    What have you decided to do about the problem we all face?

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used in sentences containing verbs whose actions are directed toward the subjects of the verbs. These pronouns are formed by adding -self or -selves, as appropriate, to the personal pronouns or possessive adjectives my, your, him, her, our, them, one and the impersonal pronoun it.

The following sentences illustrate the uses of reflexive pronouns:

    He almost always cut himself while shaving.
    You are losing yourself in your work.
    She discovered herself after a period of intense introspection.
    Jan usually supported himself by teaching karate.
    We fail ourselves when we fail others.
    Ask yourselves whether you have done right by your families.
    They told themselves only what they wanted to hear.
    If one only did what was right for oneself!
    The giraffe found itself in trouble after its habitat was thoroughly sprayed with herbicide.

Intensive Pronouns

Intensive pronouns are used as appositives (see pages 100–101) to strengthen the subject of a verb.

Intensive pronouns have the same forms as reflexive pronouns: myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, oneself, and itself.

The following sentences illustrate the uses of the intensive pronouns:

    I myself can see little use in following a poorly conceived plan.
    I can see little use in that action myself.
    You yourself will have to take full responsibility for your budget.
    You will have to take full responsibility yourself.
    Henry himself was not at fault in that matter, we have been told.
    Henry was not at fault himself.
    Erica herself found little of interest in the new symphony.
    Erica found little of interest in the symphony herself.
    We ourselves are content to let the matter drop even though we have been hurt.
    We are content ourselves to let the matter drop.
    You yourselves can find the answers if you try hard enough.
    You can find the answers yourselves.
    The French themselves are abusing their language.
    The French are abusing their language themselves.
    The magazine itself is of little value.
    The magazine is of little value itself.

Reciprocal Pronouns

The reciprocal pronouns are one another and each other. One another is generally used when writing of more than two people. Both reciprocal pronouns have possessive and objective cases.

The following sentences illustrate uses of these pronouns:

    John and Jerry found each other's company satisfying.
    All thirty students sought one another's assistance.
    He and his wife caught themselves shouting at each other.
    He, his wife, and their daughter caught themselves shouting at one another.
    Neighbors up and down the road stopped speaking to one another.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns constitute a large number of imprecise words that can function as pronouns. The most frequently used are: all, another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each one, either, everybody, everyone, everything, few, little, many, more, much, neither, nobody, none, no one, nothing, oneself, other, others, several, some, somebody, someone, something, and such.

The following sentences illustrate some uses of indefinite pronouns:

    All we can do is try our best and hope things turn out all right.
    This sweater fits anybody six or more feet tall.
    Each one is reviewed in turn and given a proficiency rating.
    I gave him nothing for his labors.
    If others were as concerned as he, there would be no problem.
    Someone must be held responsible for this heinous deed.
    The crowd was such that the police feared a break-in at the gate.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Pronoun Practice Exercises for English Grammar

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