What is a Pronoun?

In grammar, a pronoun is defined as a word or phrase that may be substituted for a noun or noun phrase, which once replaced, is known as the pronoun’s antecedent. How is this possible? In a nutshell, it’s because pronouns can do everything that nouns can do. A pronoun can act as a subject, direct object, indirect object, object of the preposition, and more.

Without pronouns, we’d have to keep on repeating nouns, and that would make our speech and writing repetitive, not to mention cumbersome. Most pronouns are very short words. Examples include: He, She, They, It, We, Who

We use pronouns in place of nouns and noun phrases:

The children were in the garden. They were getting wet.

[pointing to a parcel]

A: What’s in that?
B: I don’t know. It’s for you.

You don’t need to make me a cup of tea. I’ll do it myself.

Pronouns can also act as the head of noun phrases, with pre- and postmodifiers and complements:

A: Did you mean you think she’s wrong?
B: Yes, I meant just that. (premodified pronoun)

I made cakes and she ate them all. (postmodified pronoun)

We’re looking for someone young and energetic.(pronoun and complement)

There are different types of pronouns.

personal: I/me, you, we/us, she/her, it, they/them

possessive: mine, ours, hers

reflexive: ourselves, myself, himself

interrogative: who, whose, which, what

demonstrative: this, that, these, those

indefinite: -body, -one, -thing, one, you, they

reciprocal: each other/each other’s, one another/one another’s

relative: who, whom, whose, which, that