Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Technical stuff – part 13: pronouns

with one comment

A curious kitty. Un ejemplo de curiosidad.
Image via Wikipedia

We use pronouns all the time. They often help us to avoid boring repetition when we are writing and speaking. For example, look at the following sentence:

John said that shortly after John arrived John decided to eat John’s lunch and then feed John’s cat.

Of course, what we would really write is:

John said that shortly after he arrived he decided to eat his lunch and then feed his cat.

Instead of repeating the name ‘John’ we are using the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his’.

So a pronoun is simply a word used to replace another word.

Very often, a pronoun is used to replace a noun, as in the sentence above where we see the noun ‘John’ being replaced with the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘his’.

Different types of pronoun

No need to get bogged down in this, but you may be interested to know that there are different types of pronoun. These are:

Personal — for example:

I, me, we, us, he, him, you, her, she, they, them

Possessive — for example:

mine, yours, ours, hers, his, theirs

Reflexive — for example:

ourselves, himself, herself, themselves

Demonstrative — for example:

this, those, that, these

Interrogative (used to ask questions) — for example:

who, whose, what, which

Indefinite — for example:

some, something, everyone, everything, someone, both, each, neither

Relative — for example:

who, whose, that, which (e.g. ‘The house that Jack built’)

Nouns, verbs and adjectives

Advertisements

Written by Wordwatch

24/02/2010 at 2:56 pm

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. From the After Deadline column in The New York Times:

    Mr. Paladino may have low approval ratings downstate. But to some residents around Buffalo, Mr. Paladino, a prominent local real estate developer, is a hometown hero. High turnout in Erie County, where Buffalo is, helped Mr. Paladino win the Republican primary.

    A pronoun or two would have spared readers the jarring repetition of his surname in three consecutive sentences.

    Deborah

    09/03/2011 at 9:00 am


Your questions and comments are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: