Pronoun - An Overview

What is a Pronoun?

Pronouns are words used as substitute for nouns or noun phrases. Some pronouns can take the place of a clause or a sentence. At times, pronouns are used to stand for unspecified or very general concepts.

What are the Types of Pronouns?

There are six types of pronouns. Below is an overview of each type.

1. Central Pronouns

Central pronouns have a distinction of person (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), gender (masculine, feminine, and nonpersonal), and number (singular and plural).

There are three types of central pronouns: personal, reflexive/intensive, and possessive.

  • You can't blame me if want to earn some money now.
  • We have a lot to discuss, you and I.

2. Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal Pronouns (each other, one another) are compound pronouns that corefer to plural noun phrases. Reciprocity hints more than one participant and a two-way relationship.

  • Ruth and Ralph give presents to each other every Christmas eve.
  • They waged a perpetual war with each other.

3. Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns (e.g. this, that, these, those) point out what you are talking about in a sentence.

  • Those who seek to please everybody please nobody.
  • What respect is shown to old age in these days?

4. Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns (e.g. who, whom, which, that) are used before clauses that describe nouns or pronouns.

  • Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hid.
  • Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease.

5. Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative Pronouns (e.g.who, whom, which, what, whomever, etc.) are also called the WH-words of English. 

  • "Who is there?" shouted the doctor, approaching the figure.
  • "What is the most difficult decision you've ever made?"

6. Indefinite Pronouns - Positive and Negative Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns lack the definiteness of the other types of pronouns, thus they are used to refer to unspecified beings, objects, or places.

  • I don't see anything or anybody to be afraid of. 
  • None but those who work are entitled to eat.


 A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik (Longman Group Ltd., 1985)

Designed by Neil Yamit