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Basic Grammar and Punctuation

An AARC writing resource

About Pronouns

Pronouns are words that substitute for nouns.

Subjective pronouns come before the verb usually: We love grammar!

 

singular

plural

1st person

I

we

2nd person

you

you

3rd person

he, she, it

they


Objective pronouns come after the verb usually: School challenges me!

 

singular

plural

1st person

me

us

2nd person

you

you

3rd person

him, her, it

them


Possessive pronouns show ownership: That's my book.

 

singular

plural

1st person

my

ours

2nd person

yours

yours

3rd person

his, hers, its

theirs


A pronoun usually refers to its antecedent, or the noun that immediately proceeds it. For example:

Jane is my best friend. She has lived next door since kindergarten. (She is the pronoun that refers to Jane.)

I don't like video games because they are too violent. (They is the pronoun that refers to games.)

The doctor treated his or her patients with dedication. (A doctor can be male or female, so you must use both gender singular pronouns)

Pronouns should always agree in number with their antecedentFor example:

Wrong – Jack and Sam waited for delivery of the parts he ordered. (they is plural, but he is singular)

Right – Margaret showed her paintings at the exhibit. (Singular antecedent, singular pronoun.)

Some nouns sound like they should be plural but are actually singular. If a noun needs a singular verb, then it should also get a singular pronoun.

These include indefinite pronounsEveryone should bring his or her lunch.

one

nobody

nothing

each

anyone

anybody

anything

either

someone

somebody

something

neither

everyone

everybody

everything

 

and collective nouns: The class turned in its papers.

audience

corporation

government

class

council

group

committee

crowd

jury

company

family

team