Learning to write – pronouns

I thought this was going to be an easy one, and it would just be an extension of nouns. However, it seems pronouns are just as complicated.

Pronouns are essentially words that take the place of nouns. And from my understanding, their only purpose is to make the text more interesting.

Instead of writing ‘Sam wants to be a lawyer, therefore, Sam needs to go to law school’.

Sam wants to be a lawyer, therefore, he needs to go to law school’.

There are many different categories of pronoun, there are: personal, relative, subject and object, demonstrative, indefinite, reflexive, intensive, possessive, reciprocal and lastly interrogative.

So… let us start with the personal pronouns.

The personal pronouns are: I, me, you, he, she, her, him, it, we, us, they and them.

Despite the term ‘personal’ they do not have to refer to a person – what is it?

They are essentially the pronouns that are associated with ‘person’ in writing i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

Relative pronouns

These are used to connect relative clauses – which can be restrictive (provides essential information about the noun) and non-restrictive (can be left out without affecting the meaning of the clause) – to independent clauses. Relative clauses are used to identify the noun that came before them.

The relative pronouns are: which, that, whom, whose, who, when, what.

My writing, which is relatively poor, is improving.

Subject and object pronouns

Who and whom. When referring to a subject use the ‘who’ pronoun, and when referring to an object use whom. I will look at subject and object in another post. But in short, the object is acted upon by the subject.

To whom, should I send this letter?

Who will receive the letter?

Demonstrative pronouns

A demonstrative shows distance as I spoke about in this post.

The demonstrative pronouns are: that, this, these, those.

This is used for singular items that are nearby, whereas, these not those (over there) is used for many items that are close.

Indefinite pronouns

Are used when you need to refer to something unspecific, one, none, other, some, anybody, everybody and no one.

Reflexive and intensive pronouns

reflexive pronouns are used when both the subject and object of a verb refer to the same person or thing. They have self or selves on the end. Himself, themselves etc

The writer set himself the task of writing about pronouns.

Intensive pronouns are more unnecessary as a category in my opinion; they are similar to reflexive pronouns but they do a different thing, they add emphasis.

I wrote the blog post myself. The ‘myself’ is unnecessary but it adds emphasis.


Not technically a pronoun but it is important. The antecedent is the noun that the pronoun refers to.

My girlfriend (antecedent) bakes me cakes, I love her (pronoun) for that.

Possessive pronouns

its, his, her, our, their, My, your and whose

Seems obvious, and it is. Basically, they show possession

Absolute pronouns (mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs) can be substituted for the thing that belongs to the antecedent.

BloggerX is working on his blog post.

They are absolute because they stand alone and do not modify nouns.

Reciprocal pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns are each other and one another

each other refers to two things, one another refers to multiple things.

These are used when two or more things are acting in the same way towards the other.

The blogger and commenters are talking to one another.

Interrogative pronouns

These, as the name suggest are used in questioning: whose, who, what, which

who wants to leave a like and follow?