Pronouns take the place of a noun to avoid repetition and to clearly express the meaning of the sentence. E.g.
1. The teacher walked in to the class and saw that the students doing the group assignment were too loud, so the teacher told the students that the group assignment would have to end if the students did not control students’ volume.
Fig: Types of pronouns.2. Teacher walked in to the class and saw that the students doing the group assignment were too loud, so he told them that the group assignment would have to end if they did not control their volume.
Notice how in sentence 1, the nouns are repeated, and, therefore, the sentence is clumsy and difficult to comprehend. On the other hand, in sentence 2, pronouns are used in place of the nouns, and the sentence becomes much more precise and clear.
Since pronouns replace nouns, they also express the name of a person, a place, or a thing. E.g.
1. Tom was angry at Sheila for not taking Tom to the Central Park, as Tom loves to go to the Central Park for picnics with Sheila.
2. Tom was angry at Sheila for not taking him to the Central Park, as he loves to go there for picnics with her.
Types of pronouns
There are 5 types of pronouns.
1. Personal Pronoun
These pronouns refer to specific people or things. For example: he, she, they, etc. When you use personal pronouns, you should take care to use them in the correct case or form.
1.1 Subject Case Pronouns – I, You, She, He, It, We, They
Be sure to use a subject case pronoun when the pronoun acts as a subject in the sentence. For example:
a). Sheila slept before the sunset.
She slept before the sunset.
b). Tom and Sheila left the meeting early to attend a gala event.
They left the meeting early to attend a gala event.
1.2 Object Case Pronouns – Me, You, Her, Him, It, Us, You, Them
Likewise, use object case pronouns when the pronoun acts as an object in the sentence. For example:
a). Assign the task to Sheila.
Assign the task to her.
b). Tom needs to meet Sheila and James.
Tom needs to meet them.
1.3 Possessive Case Pronouns – My, His, Her, Their, Its
Likewise, use possessive case pronouns when you need to show ownership. For example:
a. Sheila’s share of chocolate is almost over.
o Her share of chocolate is almost over.
b. The students’ books are torn.
o Their books are torn.
2. Relative Pronouns:
These pronouns connect group of words to specific nouns. They are called relative pronouns because they relate to the word that they modify. For example that, which, where, whose, etc are relative pronouns.
a. The book that contains the details of the experiment was stolen. (‘that’ relates to the noun ‘book’).
b. The barren land, which has not been cultivated since ages, belongs to an old couple, who cannot hire any help. (‘which’ relates to the noun ‘land’ and ‘who relates to the noun "old couple").
3. Indefinite Pronouns:
These pronouns refer to people and things that are not specific. For example all, everyone, each, everything, anyone, anything, etc are indefinite pronouns.
a. Everyone has the right to vote in this country.
b. Each student needs to sign the attendance sheet.
4. Demonstrative Pronouns:
These pronouns refer to the nouns that follow them. For example this, those etc are demonstrative pronouns.
a. These shoes are mine.
b. This box contains several antique items.
5. Reflexive Pronouns:
These pronouns are used when the subject of the sentence does something to itself. These pronouns end in –self or –selves.
• I cut myself while chopping the vegetables.
We also use these pronouns to emphasize the subject.
• They themselves cannot handle the situation.
6. Singular and Plural Pronouns:
Like a noun, a pronoun can be either singular or plural. Some singular pronouns are he, it, I, her, this etc. Some plural pronouns are they, we, us, them, those etc.