May 23, 2024

Pronouns: A Comprehensive Guide to Using Them Effectively

Pronouns are words used in place of nouns that are mentioned earlier in a sentence to avoid repetition of the latter.

Kinds of pronoun

  1. Personal pronouns are used in place of nouns to denote persons.

‘He, she, it, they, you, I, we.’

Subjects Objects Possessive adjectives Possessive pronouns
I    (I person)








You (II person) You Your Yours
He  (III person)













Hers(masculine possessive pronoun)



(a.)Subject pronouns

Pankaj is studying now. He is very talented.

(b.) Object pronouns (indirect objects)

Atul presented me with a beautiful gift.

She provided me with some cash.

(c.) Possessive adjectives + noun

Sheetal is my friend.

(d.) Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns                possessive adjectives

Mine                                            = my + noun

Ours                                             = our + noun

Yours                                            = your + noun

His                                                 = his +noun

Hers                                              = her + noun

Theirs                                            = their + noun

Have you seen the jacket? That’s mine. = That is my jacket

This car is yours. = This is your car.

Hers is not green.


  1. Reflexive pronouns

These refer back to the subjects of the sentence or clause for emphasis.

Personal pronouns Reflexive pronouns
I Myself
We Ourselves
You Yourself
He Himself
She Herself
It Itself
They Themselves


 Some following verbs are used reflexively.

Absent, acquit, adapt, adjust, address, amuse, apply, assert, avail, avenge, busy, cheat, enjoy, exert, hurt, introduce, present, pride, reconcile, resign

  1. He hurt himself.
  2. She resigned herself from the post.
  • My son introduced himself at the party.
  1. I enjoyed myself in the cinema hall.
  2. He enjoyed the film. (reflexive pronoun is used without object)

Some following verbs are used without reflexive pronouns

Bathe, conceal, hide, keep, move, qualify, qualify, rest, spread, stay, stop

  1. He has qualified himself for SSC CGL. (remove himself)
  2. She hid the money under the carpets.    (correct)
  • You kept yourself in the kitchen.   (remove yourself)
  1. I stopped myself from going to the pub.  (remove myself)

Reflexive pronouns are not used as a subject and object in the sentence

  1. Herself is going to Dubai. (use ‘she’ in the place of ‘herself’)
  2. She has transferred money for himself. (change ‘himself into him)
  3. An emphatic or intensive pronoun

what is emphatic pronoun?

It emphasizes the work which is done by the subject.

I myself solve the riddles.

She herself cooks.

  1. Demonstrative pronouns are used for nouns to indicate the objects.
  2. This, that, these, those, neither, none, such, etc.
  3. This is my rocking chair.
  • That was my dog which I sold last year.
  1. These are my favorite dresses.
  2. Those were not good glasses.
  3. Neither is allowed to go from here.

But if this/that/these/those/neither/none/such + noun is used, we call it demonstrative adjectives.

  1. This palace           That money
  2. Such a beautiful girl Neither girl


  1. Indefinite pronouns don’t indicate any specific noun.

It’s vague that is not definite.


Everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, anyone, anybody, no one, nobody, Nothing, something, anything, either, neither, one, each, another, all + singular verb

  1. Everyone wants to live luxury life.
  2. Somebody ate my lunch.
  • No one is studying in the class.
  1. One should do one’s duty.
  2. Neither of them is going to coaching classes.
  3. Something has been stolen.
  • Nothing is chargeable.
  • All was destroyed by fire.
  1. Each has the right to live.


Much, several, others, both, few, fewer, many, some + plural verb

  1. Several returned home.
  2. Others are playing football.
  • Both are good in English.
  1. Few students were present.
  2. Many are absent today.
  3. Some are playing on the ground now.

Note: something, someone/somebody  + and Nothing, nobody/no one –

Somebody didn’t come.  (x)

Nobody came.   (√)

Nobody hasn’t done it. (x)

Nobody has done it. (√)

Any/anybody/ anyone is used in interrogative form

Does anybody know it?

Anyone goes there. (x)    Someone goes there. (x)

Is anyone going there?   (√)

An apostrophe is used with an indefinite pronoun to indicate a possessive case

  1. Is anybody’s relative live in Shimla?
  2. Somebody’s house has been looted.

Else is used with an indefinite pronoun to indicate other people or things

  1. We have taken dinner. Ask somebody else.

Ii.     Does anybody else need water?

  1. I think this is somebody else’s wallet.
  2. Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions.

‘Who, whom, whose are used for person and animal,

‘Which’ is used to indicate choice in persons or things,

‘What’ is used to inquire about the identity, object, event, or idea.

Who –subject, whom- object, whose- possession

  1. What is he learning nowadays?
  2. Whose pen is this?
  • What are you talking about?
  1. Who taught you English?
  2. Whom did he beat?
  3. Whose pen is this?
  • Who is the intelligent of the two students? (change ‘who’ into ‘which’ used for selection)


  1. A relative pronoun functions as a relative clause connecting the main (principal clause) and the dependent clause (subordinate clause).
Subjects Object Possession uncertainty
Who Whom Whose Whoever/whomever/ whosever ( use for person)
Which Which Whose Whichever (use for things)
That That – (use for person and things)


Antecedent (noun/pronoun) + Who + verb

Antecedent (noun/pronoun) + Whom + subject + verb

  1. The boy who met me in the park was playing cricket in the stadium.
  2. My home, which was established in 1990, has been destroyed.
  • He’s an arrogant person, whoever his relatives could be.
  • He is the boy whom I met last Saturday.
  1. It is she who plays football.
  2. It is they who have stolen your luggage.


‘What’ is used without an antecedent that refers to things only
  1. I don’t know which he said to her. ( use ‘what’)
  2. She doesn’t believe in what he told her.

That’ is used as a relative pronoun; when anybody, somebody, nobody, the same, the only, all, none, much, animal + person, or superlative degree is given in the sentence

  1. All that glitters is not gold.
  2. He is the only person that can help me.
  • Nobody knows that he doesn’t want money in life.
  1. He bought much sugar that I had to lift on my back.
  2. This is the same pen that I bought it.
  3. The Parker pen that was bought was lost yesterday.


  1. Distributive pronoun definition :-Distributive pronouns are used to indicate one person or thing from a group. It is used with singular verbs.

        example of distributive pronoun:-Each, every, either, neither, none

  1. Each, every, either, neither + singular noun
  2. Each boy was present.
  • Neither girl took admission.
  1. Either boy stole it.  
  2. Each of, every of, neither of, either of, none of + the + plural noun + singular verb and his/her
  3. Each of the class teachers had his attendance register.
  4. Either of the wardens has lost his
  • Neither of the games is to be charged here.
  1. Neither either are used to indicate two things or persons
  2. Either of the two girls was present there.
  3. Neither of the legs was hurt.
  4. None, any used to denote more than two things or persons.
  5. None of the five students found their bags there.
  6. Any of the four girls was looking at him.
  7. ‘each’ is used for two or more persons and things
  8. Each of the two boys was intelligent.
  9. Each of the five members was corrupt.
  10. Everyone + more than two persons or things
  11. Everyone of the two girls was a liar. (x)
  12. Everyone of the four bankers was honest with me.
  13. As you know, none + more than two persons or things and neither + two persons or things
  14. None of the computers is working. (more than two computers)
  • Neither computer is working. (two computers)
  • None of our legs was able to move. (x)
  1. Neither of our legs was able to move. (√)
  2. Neither of the students was passed. (x)
  3. None of the students was passed. (√)


  1. Reciprocal pronouns express mutual relations between two or more persons doing the same activity.

Each other, one another, etc.

  1. Rahul and Sneha like each other.
  2. Good teachers don’t argue with one another.


 Some important Rules of pronouns
  1. Indirect objects follow prepositions and verbs
  2. Let me know.
  3. This secret should be kept between you and me.
  • I have told the truth to Rani and him.
  1. Everyone knows about her except me.


  1. If a pronoun is used after ‘It’  and the form of ‘be’; it comes in a nominative case
  2. It is they who have spoken the truth.
  3. It is us who went there. (use ‘we’ in the place of ‘us’)
  4. When various pronouns are used in a sentence
  5. mentioned good deeds: we should follow 231 order

You, he and I are going to join the library soon. (231)

You and he collected funds for an NGO.

He and I should help her. (31)

  1. mentioned bad deeds: we should follow 123 order

I, you, and she used to steal pens in school days. (123)

You and I will take a bribe from him. (12)

You and he have beaten his brother. (23)

  1. when various plural pronouns are used in the sentence; we follow 123 order

We, you, and they reached school on time.


  1. Use of Possessive case (possessive adjectives/possessive pronouns) and subject-verb agreement
  2. Possessive case and verb are followed by near subject; when two subjects are connected with

Either-or, neither-nor, none-but, not only-but also

Either the captain or team players are not taking their match seriously.

Neither teachers nor the principal is trying to face his students’ problems.

  1. The first subject follows possessive case and verb; when two subjects are connected with

Like, unlike, rather than, no less than, more than one, Nothing, but, but, except, besides, but, in addition to, with, as well as, along with, together with

Rahul, as well as his relatives, have returned to their country.   (change ‘have’ into ‘ has’ and ‘their’ into ‘his’)

Your friends, along with his relatives, are running their business in the U.K.   (correct)

Rohit, with his friends, has reached Mumbai. (change ‘have’ into ‘has’)

  1. A possessive adjective is used before a gerund

I believe in her winning.

He wasn’t confident of his getting good marks in the examination.

  1. Apostrophe’s is not used with possessive pronouns

Your’s faithfully (x)    yours faithfully  (√)

  1. Singular possessive pronouns (it/its/itself) is used with a collective noun when it shows the whole group together in meaning.
  2. The jury gave their verdict. (change ‘their’ into ‘its’)
  3. The Fleet reached its destination.
  • Children were weeping itself.
  1. When a collective noun is used as a subject and a group is separate in their decision, we use plural possessive adjectives and pronouns ‘they, them, their, themselves

The jury didn’t give their verdict.

  1. The possessive case is not used with some nouns, such as

Excuse, favour, leave, mention, pardon, report, separation, sight

  1. She begged your favour.   (favour of/favour from you)                .
  2. I forgot to mention her.
  • Her separation made me rich. (separation from her)



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