Types of Pronouns Pronouns The different types of pronouns

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Types of Pronoun

A pronoun is a word which is used instead of a noun. A pronoun is used instead of a noun to avoid repetition of a noun in an essay. e.g. she, he, they, it, her, his, him, its

Pronouns are classified into following types:

1. Personal Pronouns
2. Possessive Pronouns
3. Demonstrative Pronouns
4. Reflexive Pronouns
5. Relative Pronouns
6. Reciprocal Pronouns


A personal pronoun refers a specific person or object or group of things directly.
e.g.  He, I, she, you, it, they me,, who, him, whom her, them etc.

A person pronoun describes a person or a thing in following ways.

1st Person: (the person who speaks) e.g. I, we, me, us
2nd Person: (the person who is spoken to) e.g. you
3rd Person: (a person or a thing which is spoken about). e.g. she, he, they, it, her, him, them,

Usage of Personal Pronoun:

PersonPersonal Pronouns
Singular1st PersonIMe
2nd PersonYouYou
3rd PersonHe, She, ItHim, Her, It
Plural1st PersonWeUs
2nd PersonYouYou
3rd PersonTheyThem


She is an intelligent teacher.
They were going to market.
He bought some nice books.
She shouted for help.


A possessive pronoun describes a close possession to or an ownership of or relationship to a noun (a person or a thing).

e.g. his, yours, hers, mine,  ours, theirs, mine, etc

PersonPossessive Pronouns
Singular1st PersonMine
2nd PersonYours
3rd Personhis, Hers, its
Plural1st PersonOurs
2nd PersonYours
3rd PersonTheirs

This book is yours.
This laptop is mine.
That car is hers.
These houses are ours not theirs.
He lost his books. He needs yours.        
This computer is mine, not yours


A reflexive pronoun expresses a noun when the subject’s action affects (or influences) the subject itself.
e.g. herself, yourself, himself, ourselves, itself, themselves, are few reflexive pronouns.

A reflexive pronoun always acts as an object, not as subject, and it expresses inter-influence between a subject and the object.

PersonsSubjectsReflexive Pronouns
Singular1st PersonIMyself
2nd PersonYouYourself
3rd PersonHe, she, itHimself, Herself, Itself
Plural1st PersonWeOurselves
2nd PersonYouYourselves
3rd PersonTheyThemselves


She was looking to herself in the picture.
She locked herself in a room.
He prepared himself for the test.
They considered themselves the happiest people of the world.


A reciprocal pronoun is used when two or more nouns (subjects) are reciprocating to each other or one another in some action.

A reciprocal pronoun is used if two sor more subjects act in a same manner towards each other or one another.

There are two reciprocal pronouns in English language.

  • One another
  • Each other

Two girls pushed each other.
Sara and John love each other.
The people in the party greeted one another.
Two students in exam copied from each other.
The balls on the snooker table collided with one another.


A relative pronoun is a word which is used in relation to a noun and modifies (gives more information about) the same noun.
Relative pronouns are those pronouns that join relative clauses and the relative sentences.

e.g. which, who, that, whom, whose etc.

Example: She is the girl, who sings songs.

The word ‘who’ in above example is a relative pronoun that modifies (tell more about) the noun(girl). The same pronoun joins the sentence ‘she is the girl’ to a clause ‘sings songs’.

It is the dog which barks at strangers.
The girl who is walking in the garden is very beautiful
It is the laptop which I like the more.
They were the people who had come out for a strike.


A demonstrative pronoun is the pronoun which points to a noun (a thing or things).

e.g. that, this, those, these, none, neither e.t.c.

In a short distance (or in terms of time): This, these.
In a long distance (or in terms of time): That, those.


This is a book.
That is a car.
These are ducks.
Those are birds.
Can you see that?




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Types of pronouns

The Quick Answer

The term pronoun covers many words, some of which do not fall easily under the generic description of words that replace nouns. There are several different kinds of pronouns, including:

  • Personal pronouns (e.g., he, they)
  • Demonstrative pronouns (e.g., this, these)
  • Interrogative pronouns (e.g., which, who)
  • Indefinite pronouns (e.g., none, several)
  • Possessive pronouns (e.g., his, your)
  • Reciprocal pronouns (e.g., each other, one another)
  • Relative pronouns (e.g., which, where)
  • Reflexive pronouns (e.g., itself, himself)
  • Intensive pronouns (e.g., itself, himself)

The Different Types of Pronouns

The term pronoun covers many words, some of which do not fall easily under the description given in the section What are Pronouns? There are many different kinds of pronouns. In general, these do not cause difficulties for native English speakers. The list below is mainly for reference purposes.

Demonstrative Pronouns

These pronouns are used to demonstrate (or indicate). This, that, these and those are all demonstrative pronouns.


  • This is the one I left in the car.
  • (In this example, the speaker could be indicating to a mobile phone, in which case, the pronoun this replaces the words mobile phone.)

  • Shall I take those?

More on demonstrative pronouns…

Indefinite Pronouns

Unlike demonstrative pronouns, which point out specific items, indefinite pronouns are used for non-specific things. This is the largest group of pronouns. All, some, any, several, anyone, nobody,
each, both, few, either, none, one and no one are the most common.


  • Somebody must have seen the driver leave.
  • (somebody – not a specific person)

  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. (Oscar Wilde)
  • I have nothing to declare except my genius. (Oscar Wilde)

More on indefinite pronouns…

Interrogative Pronouns

These pronouns are used in questions. Although they are classified as pronouns, it is not easy to see how they replace nouns. Who, which, what, where and how are all interrogative pronouns.


  • Who told you to do that?
  • Which dog won the race?

More on interrogative pronouns…

Personal Pronouns

The personal pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they, and who. More often than not (but not exclusively), they replace nouns representing people. When most people think of pronouns, it is the personal pronouns that usually spring to mind.


  • We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
  • I bought some batteries, but they weren’t included.

More on personal pronouns…

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show possession. As they are used as adjectives, they are also known as
possessive adjectives . My, your, his, her, its, our and their are all possessive pronouns.

  • Have you seen her book?
  • (In this example, the pronoun her replaces a word like Sarah’s.)

More on possessive pronouns…

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used to add more information to a sentence. Which, that, who (including whom and whose) and where are all relative pronouns.


  • Dr Adam Sissons, who lectured at Cambridge for more than 12 years, should have known the difference.
  • (In this example, the relative pronoun who introduces the clause who studied at Cambridge for 12 years and refers back to Dr Adams Sissons.)

  • The man who first saw the comet reported it as a UFO.
  • (In this example, the relative pronoun who introduces the clause who first saw the comet and refers back to the man.)

More on relative pronouns…

Absolute Possessive Pronouns

These pronouns also show possession. Unlike possessive pronouns (see above), which are adjectives to nouns, these pronouns sit by themselves. Mine, yours, his, hers, ours and theirs are all absolute possessive pronouns.


  • The tickets are as good as ours.
  • Shall we take yours or theirs?

More on absolute possessives…

Reciprocal Pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are used for actions or feelings that are reciprocated. The two most common reciprocal pronouns are
each other and one another.


  • They like one another.
  • They talk to each other like they’re babies.

More on reciprocal pronouns…

Reflexive Pronouns

A reflexive pronoun ends …self or …selves and refers to another noun or pronoun in the sentence (usually the subject of the sentence ). The reflexive pronouns aremyself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves,
yourselves and themselves.


  • The dog bit itself.
  • (In this example, the intensive pronoun itself refers back to the noun the dog.)

  • Are you talking to yourself?

More on reflexive pronouns…

Intensive (or Emphatic) Pronouns

An intensive pronoun (sometimes called an emphatic pronoun) refers back to another noun or pronoun in the sentence to emphasize it (e.g., to emphasize that it is the thing carrying out the action).


  • John bakes all the bread himself.
  • (In this example, the intensive pronoun himself refers back to the noun John.)

  • The cat opened the door itself.

More on intensive pronouns…

See Also

What are adjectives?
What are adverbs?
What are conjunctions?
What are interjections?
What are prepositions?
What are verbs?
What are nouns?
The different types of nouns
Demonstrative pronouns
Indefinite pronouns
Interrogative pronouns
Personal pronouns
Possessive pronouns
Reciprocal pronouns
Relative pronouns
Reflexive pronouns


Below are some common errors related to pronouns:

No One Not No-One

There is no hyphen in the word no one.

  • No one is qualified to take the position.
  • No-one lifted a finger.

should be No one ever died…
(newspaper article)

See the lesson No One & Noone .

None; Singular or Plural?

There is a growing misconception that none is always singular. It’s not. It can be singular or plural. However, this “rule” is so well promulgated, many of your grammar-savvy readers will expect it to be singular. If your none translates as not one, treat it as singular. If it better translates as not any, treat it as plural. Your best bet is to play it by ear. Or, try your hardest to treat none as singular, but, if you can’t bear how it sounds, go plural.

Its Not It’s

The word its (note, no apostrophe) is a possessive pronoun, just like his, her and my.

  • Can you see its pale-coloured belly?
  • Jenkins failed the final test and its re-sit.

It’s (with an apostrophe) is short for it is or it has. If you cannot substitute
it’s with it is or it has, then it is wrong! This is covered more in the lesson
Its and It’s .

No Apostrophes

There are no apostrophes in absolute possessive pronouns (also called absolute

  • Shall I take yours?
  • Paul’s scores were better than
Top Tip

Commas or Not?

The first example in Relative Pronouns (left) has commas around the clause who studied at Cambridge for 12 years, but the second example does not have commas around who first saw the comet. These clauses are called
relative clauses.

The first example refers to Dr Adam Sissons and the second example refers back to the man. These are called the antecedents of the relative clauses.

When a relative clause (like who saw the comet) is required to identify the antecedent (in this case the man), then no commas are used. When it is just additional information (like who studied at Cambridge for 12 years), then commas are required.

This is covered more in the lesson Which,
That and Who – Commas or Not? .

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Can You Use All 8 Types Of Pronouns Today?

We talk a lot about pronouns today, especially she/hers, he/him, and of course the age-old palaver over the singular they . But, if you’re really going to dig into your pronouns, shouldn’t you know all the types that are out there? We’re here to help. Certain types of pronouns closely relate to one another, and many words can function as multiple different types of pronouns, depending how they’re used.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns take the place of people or things. They can be either singular or plural, depending whether they refer to one or multiple nouns. Examples include I, me, we, and us.

Personal pronouns are usually either the subject of a sentence or an object within a sentence. Each personal pronoun has different forms depending on its function. For example, if a writer is referring to himself, he should use I if he’s the subject of a sentence, as in “I saw the dog.” If he’s the object, he should use me, as in “The dog saw me.”

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are personal pronouns that also indicate possession of something. They have singular forms (like my), and plural forms (like our). These pronouns often appear before the possessed item, but not always. For example, both “my car” and “the car is mine” both indicate who owns the car.

Reflexive pronouns

When a subject performs an action on itself, the sentence uses a reflexive pronoun after the verb. Reflexive pronouns include myself, himselfthemselves, and herself. An example of a reflexive pronoun is the common expression “I kicked myself.”

Reciprocal pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are similar to reflexive pronouns, but they involve groups of two or more that perform the same action with one another. There are only two reciprocal pronouns: each other (for groups of two) and one another (for larger groups).

Relative pronouns

A relative pronoun starts a clause (a group of words that refer to a noun). Who, that, and which are all relative pronouns. They can also serve as other types of pronouns, depending on the sentence. For example, in “I saw the dog that you own,” the relative pronoun that is the beginning of the clause that you own, which describes the dog.

Demonstrative pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns point out or modify a person or thing. There are four demonstrative pronouns: this and that (for singular words), and these and those (for plural words).

Interrogative pronouns

Interrogative pronouns begin questions. For example, in “Who are you?”, the interrogative pronoun who starts the question. There are five interrogative pronouns: who, whom, and whose (for questions that involve people), and which and what (for questions that involve things).

Indefinite pronouns

Like personal pronouns, indefinite pronouns refer to people or things, but they don’t have a specific person or thing to reference. Examples of indefinite pronouns include some, anyone, and everything.

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