Pronouns Study Guide (page 2)
What Are Pronouns?
Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
JOHN FRENCH (1852–1925)
FRENCH MILITARY FIELD MARSHALL
Learn to identify the different categories of pronouns, words that take the place of a noun, and how we can make then agree in three ways: number, gender, and person.
A pronoun takes the place of a noun in a sentence. Without them, we would sound absurd when we speak.
Incorrect: Mrs. Milling stood at Mrs. Milling's classroom door and greeted Mrs. Milling's third-period students as Mrs. Milling's students walked into the classroom.
Correct: Mrs. Milling stood at her classroom door and greeted her third-period students as they walked into the classroom.
Personal pronouns are separated into points of view by person: first, second, and third person. You use first-person pronouns when you want to include yourself in the action: I, me, we, and us. Second-person pronouns involve the person listening to or watching the action: you. Third-person pronouns include everybody else but you: he, she, her, him, it, they, and them.
When pronouns are used as the subject of a sentence, they are in the subjective case, and called subject pronouns.
Personal pronouns are called object pronouns when they are used as the object in a sentence (the person or thing on the receiving end of the action), or in the objective case.
Deciding which pronouns to use depends on the nouns being replaced and where they lie in the sentence. For instance:
Drew likes Heather.
In this sentence, Drew is the subject noun and Heather is the object noun. Let's replace them with the correct pronouns:
He (←male subject pronoun) likes her (←female object pronoun).
If we reverse the original sentence but keep the original pronouns, the substitutions become incorrect:
Heather likes Drew. →Her likes he.
To make the sentence correct, we must substitute the nouns with the correct pronoun case:
She (←female subject pronoun) likes him (←male object pronoun).
In order to choose the correct pronoun, you have to consider the gender of the noun (male, female, or neuter) and whether it is the doer of the action or the receiver of the action.
Christian took Jennifer birdwatching at the park. → He took her birdwatching at the park.
If we reverse the subject and object, we must replace them with the correct pronouns:
She took him birdwatching at the park.
Lastly, personal pronouns that show possession—whose something is—are in the possessive case, and are called possessive pronouns.
Possessive pronouns are used in a sentence to show ownership:
Amanda's dog is tan. Mine is black.
Don't confuse possessive pronouns with possessive adjectives! They look very similar (my, your, his, her, its, our, and their), and also indicate ownership of something, but a possessive adjective must be followed by a noun in a sentence:
Adjective: This is her CD. Your house is big. Our class is over.
Pronoun: This CD is mine. His is small. Theirs is over, too.
Indefinite pronouns begin with words like any, every, some, and no. They identify a nonspecific person or thing in a sentence. Some indefinite pronouns can only be singular, some can only be plural, and others can be both. Let's see.
The four demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those. They can be either a subject or an object in a sentence. We know which one to use by looking at the number of and distance of the thing(s) we are referring to.
- What does this say?
- That is too bad.
- Those are pretty.
- These, too.
Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns
Reflexive and intensive pronouns are pronouns that end in self and selves: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves. Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object are the same:
She had to drag herself out of bed after an awful night's sleep.
Intensive pronouns emphasize the subject of the sentence:
Hannah herself made the dinner reservations.
If you remove the intensive pronoun from a sentence, the meaning remains clear. You cannot do the same with a reflexive pronoun, or the meaning becomes distorted.
Practice for this concept can be found at What Are Pronouns Practice Exercise.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
WORKBOOKSMay Workbooks are Here!
ACTIVITIESGet Outside! 10 Playful Activities
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Bullying in Schools
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- First Grade Sight Words List