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Pronouns

me, myself, I …
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun or noun phrase. The most common pronoun is the subject pronoun, which all English learners memorize, for example, when conjugating verbs:
II am a student.
YouYou are a student.
HeHe is a student.
SheShe is a student.
ItIt is a student.
WeWe are a students.
You (plural)You are students.
TheyThey are students.
There are many types of pronouns that serve many different purposes:
  • Demonstrative pronouns – “These are so cool!” (these, those, this, that, and such)
  • Indefinite pronouns – “Nobody is in the house.” (few, everyone, all, some, anything, and nobody)
  • Interrogative pronouns – (who, whom, which, what, whoever, whomever, whichever, and whatever)
  • Personal pronouns
    • Object pronouns – (me, you, him, her, it, them, us, you pl.)
    • Subject pronouns – (I, you, he, she, it, they, us, you pl.)
  • Possessive pronouns – (my, your, his, her, its, their, our, your pl.)
  • Reflexive pronouns – (myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, themselves, ourselves, yourselves, oneself)
    • Intensive pronouns – “He did it himself.”
  • Relative pronouns – (who, whom, which, whoever, whomever, whichever, and that)

Demonstrative Pronouns

The most common demonstrative pronouns are the words this / that and these / those. These words replace the noun or noun phrase in a sentence:
The painting looks nice.This looks nice.
The car over there is a beautiful machine!That is a beautiful machine!
The cookies smell great!These smell great!
The cupcakes in the window look delicious.Those look delicious
We use this and these to refer to things close to us.
That and those are used to refer to things farther away.

Indefinite Pronouns

The most common indefinite pronouns are the words something /somebody, everything / everybody, anything / anybody, nothing / nobody. We use these words to make general statements: Everybody likes chocolate.
She is good at everything.
I don’t see anybody.
It’s dark. I can’t see anything.
Where is everybody?
As you can see above, these words are also often used to make exaggerations.

We use indefinite pronouns ending in -thing to refer to objects, whereas those ending in -body are used for people.

For more on indefinite pronouns, including the words neither, both, such, none and all, see Wikipedia.

Interrogative Pronouns

We use interrogative pronouns to ask questions. The English interrogative pronouns are the words who, whom, which, what, whoever, whomever, whichever, and whatever. What is your name?
Who is your friend?
Whom did you tell?
Which bicycle is yours?

Personal Pronouns (object and subject pronouns)

Personal pronouns are used to talk about people. Personal pronouns change depending on whether they are the subject or object of a sentence:
SubjectObject
Ihithim.
Hehitme
In the above sentences, “I” and “me” refer to the same person. “He” and “him” are also the same person. What is different is who gives the action and who receives the action.
Personal Pronouns
Subject PronounObject Pronoun
Ime
youyou
hehim
sheher
itit
theythem
weus
you (plural)you
Both subject pronouns and object pronouns are often used together in a sentence: I gave him a glass of water.
She gave her a glass of water.
They told us a funny story.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns replace the noun to which something belons. We can also use possessive determiners to accomplish this.
Possessives
PronounDeterminer
minemy
yoursyour
hishis
herher
itsits
oursour
theirstheir
Consider the following quesiton, and notice how it can be answered with either a pronoun or a determiner below.

Whose hat is this?
That’s mine. That’s my hat.
That’s his. That’s his hat.
That’s hers. That’s her hat.
That’s its. That’s its hat.
That’s ours. That’s our hat.
That’s theirs. That’s their hat.

Reflexive Pronouns (and Intensive Pronouns)

Reflexive pronouns are used to refer back to the subject of the sentence or clause. Reflexive pronouns end in -self (singular) or -selves (plural).
Imyself
youyourself
hehimself
sheherself
ititself
theythemselves
weourselves
oneoneself
We use reflexive as the object of a sentence when the object and subject are the same thing: He taught himself English.
They wrote themselves letters.
One should not
In both of the above cases, the subjects (“He” and “They”) both give and receive the action. The reflexive pronouns (“himself” and “themselves”) receive the action of the verbs. Reflexive pronouns are used together with reflexive verbs, but are not very common in English.

Intensive Pronouns

Some people separate reflexive pronouns from intensive pronouns. While they have the same exact forms as the reflexive pronouns above (-self and -selves), they are used differently: He built the house himself.
I ate the whole pizza myself.
She herself wrote the essay.
Intensvie pronouns are used to stress or emphasize that the subject did something alone (without help from others). The intensive pronoun can come either directly after the subject or at the end of the sentence.

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used to introduce relative clauses. The English relative pronouns are who, whom, which, whoever, whomever, whichever, and that. That’s the man who plays guitar.
That’s the woman whom you spoke with.
The bike, which was unlocked, was stolen.
The boy ate the pizza that was left over.