What is a Pronoun
A Pronoun is a word used instead of a Noun or a Noun equivalent.
Examples: I, me, he, she, mine, herself, we, us etc.
It is of the same Number, Person and Gender as the Noun for which it stands. It saves the repetition of a Noun, when it has once been mentioned. To explain Pronoun, have a look on below sentences:
Babar met Hina. He liked her ("he" and "her" are Pronouns, because they are used instead of the Nouns "Babar" and "Hina").
Kinds of Pronoun
There are altogether seven kinds of pronouns.
- Personal Pronouns.
- Reflexive Pronouns.
- Demonstrative Pronouns.
- Distributive Pronouns.
- Indefinite Pronouns.
- Relative Pronouns.
- Interrogative Pronouns.
Let us deal with these all kinds one by one.
A Personal Pronoun is so called because it stands for following persons:
- The person speaking; as, I, we, my, us.
- The person spoken to; as, you, your.
- The person spoken of; as, he, her, its, them.
The Personal Pronouns of the first person: These pronouns denote the person or persons speaking. The following is a table of these Pronouns;
|Number & Gender
|Singular (Masculine & Feminine)
|Plural (Masculine & Feminine)
The Personal Pronouns of the Second Person: These Pronouns denote the person or persons spoken to. The following is a table of these Pronouns;
|Number & Gender
|Singular (Masculine & Feminine)
|Plural (Masculine & Feminine)
The Personal Pronouns of the Third Person: These Pronouns denote the person or persons spoken of. The following is a table of these Pronouns;
A Reflexive Pronoun is formed by adding "self" to my, your, him, her and it (as, myself, herself, itself); and "selves" to our, your and them (as, ourselves, yourselves and themselves). It cannot, by itself, be used as a Subject in a sentence. Thus it is wrong to say: Myself took him to the doctor. It should be: I myself took him to the doctor (or) I took him to the doctor myself. Reflexive Pronoun is also called an Emphatic Pronoun. For example:
- The boy hid himself.
- They hid themselves.
A Demonstrative Pronoun is used to point out the object to which it refers; as, this is yours. These are very useful.
- This tablet is yours.
- This car is better than that car.
A Distributive Pronoun refers to persons or things, one at time; as: Each of us has won a prize. Neither of them is honest.
Each is used to denote every one of a number of persons or things taken singly; either to denote one re the other of the two; and neither, to denote not the one nor the other of the two.
- They cheated one another.
- Either of these roads leads to a Faisal Mosque.
An Indefinite Pronoun refers to a person (or persons) or a thing (or things) in a general way, and not to any particular person or thing (as; Some are born great. Many lost their lives. Nobody attended the meeting).
Other Indefinite Pronouns are all, somebody, few, anybody, one, anyone, no one and none.
The use of one needs special attention. It is used for people in general and is always followed by ones when another reference is made to the same person.
Thus it is wrong to say; One has to do his duty. It should be; One has to do one's duty).
An Interrogative Pronoun is used in asking questions as; Who is he? Whose is that camera?
The only four Interrogative Pronouns are who, whose, which and what.
- What do you want from me?
- What is sweeter than sugar?
A Relative Pronoun is a word that does the work of a conjunction as well as a Pronoun; as,
- I met the doctor. The doctor is my neighbor.
- I met the doctor and he is my neighbor.
- I met the doctor who is my neighbor.
Now we can see that the word "who" does the work of a Conjunction (and) as well as a Pronoun (he).
Other Relative Pronouns are; who, whose, whom, which and that.
Note: Sometime, what, as and but are also used as Relative Pronouns.
Use of the Relative Pronouns
"who" and "whom" are used for person only; as,
- helps those who help themselves.
- This is the boy whom I saw near the bridge.
"whose" is used for persons as well as things without life; as,
- The boy whose bicycle has been stolen, is weeping.
- Construct a triangle whose sides are equal.
"which" is used for animals and lifeless things; as,
- The moment which is lost is lost forever.
- This is a cow which gives seers of milk every day.
"That" is used for persons as well as things; as,
- All that glitters is not gold.
- Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
"That" is used in preference to "who" or "which" after Adjective in the Superlative Degree as well as after two antecedents (one denoting a person and the other denoting an animal or a thing); as,
- This is the best that she could do.
- The wisest man that ever lived made mistakes.
- The man and his dog that had entered the dining-room were turned out.
Omission of the Relative Pronoun
The Relative pronoun is, generally, omitted when it is in the Objective Case; as,
- Few and short were the prayers  we said.
- I am the monarch of all  I survey.
In each of these examples  shows the omission of "that".
The Omission of the Antecedent: Sometimes the Antecedent of a Relative Pronoun is omitted; as,
- Whom (=Those whom) the gods love die young.
- Who (=He who) has lost all hope has lost all fear.
The Position of the Relative Pronoun: The Relative Pronoun is placed near to its Antecedent as possible.
- The boy who stood first in the examination is a servant of my cousin.
But if we change the position of who, the sense of the sentence should be changed altogether.
- The boy is a servant of my cousin who stood first in the examination.
Agreement of the Relative Pronoun with its Antecedent: The Relative Pronoun must be of the same Number and Person as its Antecedent; as,
- The boy who came late was fined.
- The boys who came late were fined.
- I who am your wife, will follow you through thick and thin.
- This is the only one of his stories that is worth reading.
Some Important Points about the Use of Pronouns
Here are some important points about the use of pronouns;
- A Personal Pronoun must be of the same Number, Person and Gender as the Noun for which it stands. Examples:
- Jahangir loved Nur Jahan. She was a wise queen.
- The girls requested their teacher to forgive them.
- A Pronoun standing for a Collective noun is in the Singular Number (and Neuter Gender), where the collective Noun is viewed as a whole; but it is Plural, when it conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole. Examples:
- The jury gave its verdict after a few minutes.
- The army murdered its officers.
- The jury were divided in their opinion.
- If two more Singular Nouns are Joined by "and" the pronoun used for them is Plural. Example:
- Saba and Sana work hard. They are admired by all.
- If two Singular Nouns referring to the same person or thing are joined by "and" the Pronoun used for them is singular. Examples:
- Our class-teacher and scout-master is a perfect gentle-man.
- The head clerk and accountant was on leave.
- If two or more Singular Nouns are preceded by "each" or "every" the Pronoun used for them is Singular. Example:
- Every-teacher and every student is doing his duty.
- If two or more Singular Nouns are joined by "or" "either.. ..or" or "either.. ..nor" the Pronoun used for them in Singular.Examples:
- Minal or Maham was helping her mother. (Either).
- Minal nor Maham was helping her mother. (Neither).
- If a Pronoun refers to more than one Noun or Pronoun of different Persons, it must be of the First Person Plural, in preference to the second; and of the Second Person Plural, in preference to the third. Examples:
- You and I have done our duty.
- You and he have done your duty.
- If a Pronoun of different Persons occur side by side in the same sentence, we should place the Second Person first and the first Person last. Example:
- You, he, and I were class-fellows.
But if some fault is to be confessed then the first Person should be placed first. Example:
- I and you decided the details of the conspiracy.
Common Errors in the Use of Pronouns
The following sentences show how any violation of any rule of English Grammar leads to errors that are corrected here;
- It is me. It is I.
- These toys are for you and she. These toys are for you and her.
- I care more for you than he. I care more for you than him (or) I care more for you than he does.
- Let you and / go to the river. Let you and / go to the river.
- Only you and me know that. Only you and I know that.
- Between you and I. Between you and me.
- I, you and he are chums. You, he and I are chums.
- You and I have told a lie. I and you have told a lie.
- I shall mine duty. I shall do my duty.
- The committee was divided in its opinion. The committee were divided in their opinion.
- The houses of rich are better than the poor. The houses of the rich are better than those of the poor.
- None of these two have failed. Neither of these two has failed.
- Neither of them were scouts. Neither of them was a scouts.
- She is older than me. She is older than I.
- Myself drive the car. I myself drive the car.
- Who is there? Myself. Who is there? It is I.
- He and myself play hockey. He and I play hockey.
- Who do u want? Whom do you want?
- Tell me who you want to see. Tell me whom you want to see.
- This is the chair whose leg was broken. This is the chair a leg of which was broken.
- One must not forget his duty. One must not forget ones duty.
- Every boy and every man must love their country. Every boy and every man must love his country.
- Let us now take his leave. Let us now take leave of him.
- I never heard of him having gone home. I never heard of his having gone home.
- Hassan is not my brother, who was sitting here. Hassan who was sitting here is not my brother.
- Either of these boys have told a lie. Either of these boys has told a lie.
- Happy is the man that have few cares. Happy is the man that has few cares.
- You and he met a yesterday. You and he met me yesterday.
- It am I who is to blame. It is I who am to blame.
- The man who us met on the road is a thief. The man who met us on the road is a thief.
- Myself saw him do that. I myself saw him do that.
- Anyone can do it if one he tries. Anyone can do it if he tries.
- I want, a teacher for my son, who is over fifty. I want, for my son, a teacher who is over fifty.
- Four girls were playing with each another. Four girls were playing with one another.
- Hira and Sadaf love one other. Hira and Sadaf love each other.
- You and Ahad have done thier work. You and Ahad have done your work.