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Assam Class 12 HS Exam Tense Exercise: General English

Pronouns: Definition, Types and Examples


A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun, noun phrase, clause or at times a pronoun itself (reflexive pronouns) to avoid its repetition. The noun or noun phrase referred to may or may not be in the sentence. That is, the nouns are sometimes understood. Different pronouns take different positions in sentences and fulfil different purposes of linguistic expression. Some pronouns take the position of subjects while Some take the position of objects. They have different forms for different positions. For example: I is a subject pronoun. It becomes me when used as an object pronoun. Some pronouns follow the nouns while some precede them. Pronouns precede nouns in very rare cases as in I met them, those boys. Some pronouns also function as adjectives and determiners. When they function as adjectives and determiners, they are not considered pronouns. Examples include this, my, his etc. This qualifies book in this book. So here this is an adjective. But this is a pronoun in this is a book. Examples of pronouns include I, me, you, yours, they, he, each, every, myself, yourself, this, that, it, etc.

Pronouns can be of several types:

1. Personal Pronouns:

Personal Pronouns are words that stand for grammatical persons and replace proper and common nouns.They are of three types. Pronouns that refer to the first person, that is, the person or persons speaking: I, we and all the derived forms of I and we like me, my, our, ours etc. Pronouns that refer to the second person, that is, the person or persons spoken to: you and all its derived forms like your and yours. Pronouns that refer to the third person, that is, the person or persons spoken of: All English pronouns except those in the first and second persons belong to this category. These include he, she, it, they and their derived forms like his, him, theirs, its etc.

2. Possessive Pronouns:

Possessive pronouns are also a type of personal pronouns and are derived from personal pronouns. We have already included the possessive pronouns above in the types of personal pronouns. They indicate the relationship, ownership or possession of someone or something. Mine, thine, hers, ours, theirs etc are called possessive pronouns for they are used as standalone pronouns and are not used before nouns.


This book is mine

Whose umbrella is this?

This book is his.

This house is ours.

It has to be noted here that words like my, their, her etc are called possessive adjectives since they qualify the nouns that they precede.

3. Subject and Object Pronouns:

Personal pronouns have different forms for subject and object positions in sentences. The forms of personal pronouns used as subjects are called subject pronouns but those forms used as objects are called object pronouns.

Examples of Subject and Object Pronouns:

Subject Pronouns:

I am a boy.

We work in a factory.

He is a student.

She reads in Class X.

They sell mangoes.

Object Pronouns:

That girl loves me.

The minister has invited us.

John knows him.

The teacher punished her today.

Mr Roy is teaching them.

There is however one exception to this rule. You and it have the same forms in both subject and object positions.

4. Impersonal Pronouns:

'It' is also a category of personal pronoun but often used as an impersonal pronoun. When 'It' doesn't refer to persons or animals but acts as subjects or objects of impersonal verbs, 'it' is considered an impersonal pronoun.


It is raining.

It is hot today.

It looks beautiful.

I don't consider it right.

5. Masculine Pronouns:

The third person singular pronoun he and its derived forms his and him are called masculine pronouns because they refer to the masculine gender only.

6. Feminine Pronouns:

The third person singular pronoun she and its derived forms her and hers are called feminine pronouns because they refer to the feminine gender only.

7. Demonstrative Pronouns:

Demonstrative pronouns point out persons, places or things they refer to. Some of the demonstrative pronouns also denote the nearness or remoteness of persons or things. This, that, these, those, such, so, the same, one, when used alone are demonstrative pronouns but when used with nouns, they are adjectives.


That is a boy.

I have seen these previously etc.

8. Relative Pronouns:

Relative pronouns are used in place of a principal or main clause and connect the principal clause with the subordinate clause. The word they refer to is called antecedent.They join sentences like a conjunction. Who, which, what, whoever, whatever, whichever, that etc are called relative pronouns.


I know the man who came here.

This is the man who made the mistake.

The shirt which you bought is lost.

This is the book that I read.

His father gives him whatever he wants.

9. Interrogative Pronouns:

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask direct and indirect questions. What, which, who, whose and whom etc are called interrogative pronouns. They are called relative pronouns when they join two sentences. But when they are used to ask questions they are called interrogative pronouns.


What is your name?

Which of the books do you want?

Who is that boy?

Whom do you want?

10. Distributive Pronouns:

Distributive pronouns refer to all the members of a group but talk of only one of the group. Each, either and neither are called distributive pronouns.


Each of the boys got a prize.

Either of you may go.

Neither of the boys has come.

11. Reflexive pronouns:

Reflexive pronouns are pronouns that show that the performer of action is both the subject and the object. In other words, the subject and the object refer to the same person. Reflexive pronouns end in -self or -selves. Myself, yourself, yourselves, herself, themselves etc are reflexive pronouns.


The man killed himself.

I hurt myself.

She introduced herself.

12. Emphasizing Pronouns:

Emphatic pronouns have the same forms as the reflexive but they don't refer to the same doer as both the subject and object. They are used with nouns or pronouns for emphasis only.


I saw the man myself.

He saw it for himself.

I shall do the work myself.

13. Indefinite Pronouns:

Indefinite pronouns do not point out the number, amount, gender etc. They do not specify any particular place, persons or things. Any, many, some, few, all, none, several, another, they etc are indefinite pronouns.


I saw lots of sarees but didn't buy any.

One must keep one's promise.

None can do this work.

They say that he is a saint.

Many were invited but only a few came.

14. Reciprocal Pronouns:

Reciprocal pronouns are used when two or more subjects in a sentence are in a reciprocal, i.e. mutual relationship. All subjects enjoy the benefits of the action. Each other and one another are called reciprocal pronouns.


The two countries attacked each other.

They fought with one another.