Central Pronouns - An Overview

What are Central Pronouns? 

Central Pronouns are words used in place of names of persons and things. They have the distinction of person (first, second, and third), gender (masculine, feminine, and non personal), and number (singular and plural).

What are the Types of Central Pronouns?

The various forms of Central Pronouns are discussed below:

1. Personal Pronoun

Personal pronouns behave differently as they change in person, number, and gender. They function as subjects or predicates (nominative) or as direct or indirect objects of verbs (objective).

  • First Person: Singular - I (subject), me (object); Plural - We (subject)  
  • Second Person:  Singular and Plural-  You (subject or object) 
  • Third Person: Singular masculine - he (subject), him (object); Singular feminine - she (subject), her (object); Singular nonpersonal - it (subject or object); Plural form of third person pronouns - they (subject); them (object) 

2. Possessive Pronoun

Possessive pronouns have two sets: one is weak, the other strong. The weak set (determinative) functions as determiners before nouns and as introducers of gerund phrases. The strong set (independent) functions as subjects, objects, or complements as nouns do. 

  • Determinative: my, our, your, his, her, its, their
  • Example: This is my bag and that is her bag. 
  • Independent: mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs
  • Example: This is mine and that is hers.

3. Reflexive Pronoun

A reflexive pronoun takes the function of a noun phrase in the structure of the clause or phrase: it may be an object, a complement, or a prepositional complement. However, it cannot itself be a subject. 

The reflexive pronouns are: myself (first person singular), yourself (second person singular), himself (third person singular masculine), herself (third person singular feminine), itself (third person singular non personal), ourselves (first person plural), yourselves (second person singular), themselves (third person plural) 

  • Martha always prides herself of her academic background. (object)
  • Nobody insisted on your sacrificing yourself. (complement) 
  • I went upstairs and looked at myself in the mirror. (prepositional complement)  


 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