What is a Pronoun? Origin and Classification with Examples.

Dear readers, you are here because you want to know what is a pronoun, right? After reading this post, I think you will find your answer.

What is a pronoun?

Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the parts of speech. In the English grammar, a pronoun is a word or phrase that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase. In other words, pronouns are used in place of nouns that have already been mentioned or that is already known. We use pronoun often to avoid repeating nouns.


  • Disha took the files with her.
  • I need you.
  • Take it or leave it.


Origin of pronoun:



Types of pronouns:

  1. Personal pronoun
  2. Reflexive pronoun
  3. Demonstrative pronoun
  4. Relative pronoun
  5. Interrogative pronoun
  6. Possessive pronoun
  7. Reciprocal pronoun
  8. Indefinite pronoun
  9. Distributive pronoun


1. Personal pronoun:

Personal pronouns are pronouns that are associated with a particular grammatical person- first person(I, we), second person (you) & third person (he, she, they, it, etc.). Personal pronouns take different forms depending on numbers (usually singular & plural), gender and so on.

For Example;

  • He is the most intelligent student in the class.
  • You are the only one whom I can trust.


2. Reflexive pronoun:

A reflexive pronoun is normally used when the object of a sentence is the same as the subject. It is followed by the noun, adjective, adverb or pronoun to which it refers within the same clause. Reflexive pronoun will end in -self or -selves and refer to a previously named noun or pronoun.

Each personal pronoun has its own reflexive pronoun.

  • I – Myself
  • You – Yourself/Yourselves
  • He – Himself
  • She – Herself
  • One – Oneself
  • It – Itself
  • We – Ourselves
  • They – Themselves

For Example;

  • Rajan bought the car himself.
  • You are too young to drive yourself.


3. Demonstrative pronoun:

Demonstrative pronouns are the pronouns used to point to something specific within a sentence.

For example;

  • This is my favorite book.
  • That looks like the car I used to drive.

Following are the list of demonstrative pronouns,

  • This – This is my hat.
  • That – That used to be my cycle.
  • These – These are my pets.
  • Those – Those terrorists are very dangerous.
  • Such – Such a wise answer he gave.
  • None – None of these pictures are mine.


When a demonstrative pronoun is used to represent a thing or things, it can be either near or far according to distance or time.

  • Near in time or distance – This, These
  • Far in distance or time – That, Those


There are three simple rules of using DP.(Demonstrative pronoun)

Rule #1.

Demonstrative pronouns always identify nouns, whether the noun words are named specifically or not.

For example;

  • I don’t know what was that. [Here the subject (I) don’t know the thing specifically but he believes that it exists, even though we don’t know what it is.]
Rule #2. 

DPs are usually used to describe animals, places or things. They can be used to describe a person/persons when the person is identified.

For example;

  • This is the person whom I met yesterday.
  • These birds are the main attraction of this bird sanctuary.
Rule #3. 

Don’t get confused between demonstrative pronoun and demonstrative adjectives. The words are identical. The difference is in the sentence structure.

  • The demonstrative pronoun takes the place of the noun phrase. Like; These are my pets.
  • The demonstrative adjective is always followed by a noun. Like; These socks smells horrible.


4. Relative pronoun:

A relative pronoun is used to connect a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun. It is usually seen in a sentence at the beginning of an adjective clause (an adjective clause functions as an adjective, modifying nouns and pronouns).

Some common relative pronouns are; who, whom, which, whoever, whomever, whichever.

For example

  • People who are clever always find a way.
  • Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. (-Erma Bombeck)


5. Interrogative pronoun:

An interrogative pronoun is a pronoun which is used to ask questions.

There are five interrogative pronouns; who, whom, which, what, whose. Among these five ‘who’ & ‘whom’ are refer to people, and others can be used to define object or people.

For example;

  • Who is the CEO of this company?
  • Whom do you prefer most?
  • What do you want at dinner?
  • Which is more beautiful between these two sets?
  • Whose ball is this?


6. Possessive pronoun:

A possessive pronoun is a word or grammatical construction used to indicate a relationship of possession (ownership) in a broad sense.

  • Like its name suggests, possessive pronoun indicates ownership.

In general, it is common to have independent possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns corresponding o the personal pronouns. Like;

what is a pronoun


  • Possessive pronoun don’t contain apostrophes.

For example;

  • The book is mine.
  • The car lost its rear bumper in an accident.


7. Reciprocal pronoun:

The term ‘ reciprocate’ means to give in return. A reciprocal pronoun is used to identify an action that is reciprocated. That’s why it always refers to more than one person.

For example; John is staring at Lisa. Lisa is staring at John. We can say – John and Lisa are staring at each other.

There are two reciprocal pronouns.

  1. Each other – used for two person
  2. One another – used for more than two


8. Indefinite pronoun:

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun which has no actual relationship with a noun in their own or neighboring sentence, but which stands generally for a noun.

In a more easy way, the indefinite pronoun refers to non-specific beings, objects or places.

All, both, some, many, anybody, somebody, nobody, someone are indefinite pronouns.


9. Distributive pronoun:

Distributive pronoun separates any person or thing from a group of persons or things.

Each, Everyone, Either & Neither are the distributive pronouns.



Q: What is a pronoun?

Ans: Pronoun is one of the parts of speech that is used in place of Nouns. We use pronouns to avoid repeating Nouns.


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