Friday, September 14, 2018



What is a pronoun? 

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun in a sentence. Pronouns change depending on person, number, and function in a sentence.

Just like nouns, pronouns can be subjects, direct/indirect objects, objects of the preposition and more. 

The word pronoun even has the word noun in it! ;)

Bas is a footballer. (noun)
He is a footballer. (pronoun)

You see that the pronoun he took the place of the noun Bas. 

Pronouns serve varied purposes. We use pronouns to ask questions, to draw attention to certain objects, and to show ownership. It’s no wonder that pronouns are a topic we discuss frequently in ESL classes.

There are many different kinds of pronouns, including:

  • Personal pronouns; he, she, they..
  • Possessive pronouns; his, hers, your 
  • Indefinite pronouns; none, several...
  • Demonstrative pronouns; this, these...
  • Reflexive pronouns; Itself, himself...
  • Interrogative pronouns; Which, who...
Personal pronouns: 
Personal pronouns are some of the first words ESL students learn because they are so frequent and important in speaking and understanding English. 

Personal pronouns can be divided into two major categories: 
  - Subject pronouns: I, we, you, he, she, it, they
  - Object pronounsme, us, you, him, her, it, them

It is important for ESL students to know the difference between subject and object pronouns. Subject pronouns function as the subject of the sentence. Object pronouns function as the object of a verb or a preposition.



Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership. Since they are used as adjectives, they are also known as Possessive adjectives. (my, our, your, his, her, its, their). 
Other possessive pronouns are used independently (mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs), that is, they do not appear alongside a noun.

Indefinite pronouns:

They are used in general statements or when a specific noun is not known. Most indefinite pronouns are singular (anybody, everybody, somebody, neither, someone, something, etc.) while others are plural (both, few, many, several, etc.). Some indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural (all, any, most, none, and some).

One common area of confusion for ESL students is between the use of who and whom, both of which are indefinite pronouns. Who is a subject pronoun. It is used as the subject of a sentence. Whom is an object pronoun, and it is used as the object of a verb or a preposition. The use of who and whom is traditional grammar. However, as languages do, English is experiencing a shift in the use of who and whom. Whom is generally replaced by who in casual writing and in spoken language. 

Demonstrative Pronouns

Another type of common pronouns is demonstrative pronouns. This, that, these, and those are demonstrative pronouns in English. Be sure your students do not confuse demonstrative pronouns with demonstrative adjectives (also this, that, these, and those). Demonstrative pronouns take the place of a noun. This is fun. While demonstrative adjectives are used to modify nouns. This game is fun.

Reflexive Pronouns

English has several reflexive pronouns, and as their name suggests, they refer back to nouns or pronouns used earlier in a sentence. English reflexive pronouns end in self or selves

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are those pronouns which are used to ask a question: who, whose, whom, which, and what.


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