Pronoun


Pronoun

ExamplesSidebar|35%
* I love you.
* She turned and stared at them.
* That reminds me of something.
* Who says so?
* Take it or leave it (Impersonal pronoun).

In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a (including a noun phrase consisting of a single noun) with or without a determiner, such as ' and ' in English. The replaced phrase is the antecedent of the pronoun. A pronoun used for the item questioned in a question is called an interrogative pronoun, such as "".

For example, consider the sentence "John gave the coat to Alice." All three nouns in the sentence can be replaced by pronouns: "He gave it to her." If the coat, John, and Alice have been previously mentioned, the listener can deduce what the pronouns ', ' and "" refer to and therefore understand the meaning of the sentence. However, if the sentence, "He gave it to her," is the first presentation of the idea, none of the pronouns have antecedents, also called unprecursed pronouns, and each pronoun is therefore ambiguous.

Types of pronouns

Common types of pronouns found in the world's languages are as follows.
* Personal pronouns stand in place of the names of people or things:
** Subjective pronouns are used when the person or thing is the subject of the sentence or clause. English example: "I like to eat chips but she does not."
*** Second person formal and informal pronouns (T-V distinction). For example, "vous" and "tu" in French. There is no distinction in modern English, though Elizabethan English marked the distinction with "thou" (singular informal) and "you" (plural or singular formal).
*** Inclusive and exclusive "we" pronouns indicate whether or not the audience is included. There is no distinction in English.
*** Intensive pronouns re-emphasize a noun or pronoun that has already been mentioned. English uses the same forms as for the reflexive pronouns; for example: "I did it myself" (contrast reflexive use "I did it to myself").
** Objective pronouns are used when the person or thing is the object of the sentence or clause. English example: "John likes me but not her."
*** Direct and indirect object pronouns. English uses the same forms for both; for example: "Mary loves him" (direct object); "Mary sent him a letter" (indirect object).
*** Reflexive pronouns are used when a person or thing acts on itself. English example: "John cut himself."
*** Reciprocal pronouns refer to a reciprocal relationship. English example: "They do not like each other."
** Prepositional pronouns come after a preposition. No distinct forms exist in English; for example: "Mary looked at him."
** Disjunctive pronouns are used in isolation, or in certain other special grammatical contexts. No distinct forms exist in English; for example: "Who does this belong to? Me."
** Dummy pronouns are used when grammatical rules require a noun (or pronoun), but none is semantically required. English example: "It is raining."
** Weak pronouns.
* Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession or ownership.
** In strict sense, the possessive pronouns are only those that act syntactically as nouns. English example: "Those clothes are mine."
** Often, though, the term "possessive pronoun" is also applied to the so-called possessive adjectives (or possessive determiners). For example, in English: "I lost my wallet." They are not strictly speaking pronouns because they do not substitute for a noun or noun phrase, and as such, some grammarians classify these terms in a separate lexical category called determiners (they have a syntactic role close to that of adjectives, always qualifying a noun).
* Demonstrative pronouns distinguish the particular objects or people that are referred to from other possible candidates. English example: "I'll take these."
* Indefinite pronouns refer to general categories of people or things. English example: "Anyone can do that."
** Distributive pronouns are used to refer to members of a group separately, rather than collectively. English example: "To each his own."
** Negative pronouns indicate the non-existence of people or things. English example: "Nobody thinks that."
* Relative pronouns refer back to people or things previously mentioned. English example: "People who smoke should quit now."
**Indefinite relative pronouns have some of the properties of both relative pronouns and indefinite pronouns. They have a sense of "referring back", but the person or thing to which they refer has not previously been explicitly named. English example: "I know what I like."
* Interrogative pronouns ask which person or thing is meant. English example: "Who did that?"
** In many languages (e.g., Czech, English, French, Interlingua, Russian) the sets of relative and interrogative pronouns are nearly identical. Compare English: "Who is that?" (interrogative) to "I know who is that." (relative).

Pronouns and determiners

Pronouns and determiners are closely related, and some linguists think pronouns are actually determiners without a noun phrase. [ citation
last=Postal
first=Paul
title=On So-Called "Pronouns" in English
year=1966
journal=Report of the Seventeenth Annual Round Table Meeting on Linguistics and Language Studies
editor-last=Dinneen
editor-first=Francis P.
pages=177-206
place=Washington, D.C.
publisher=Georgetown University Press
] The following chart shows their relationships.

Pronouns in English

English has the following personal pronouns:

*first-person singular ("I")
*first-person plural ("we") - inclusive (you and I) and exclusive (someone else and I but not you)

*second-person singular or plural ("you") - many English speakers amplify the pronoun with following words such as "you all", "you guys", "you both", etc. to disambiguate singular/plural
*second-person singular (archaic) ("thou") - other forms: "thee" (object), "thine" (possessive), "thy" (actually, a determiner)
*second-person plural (archaic) ("ye") - used as a subjective pronoun (subject) only: "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

*third-person singular masculine ("he") - used both for humans and male animals
*third-person singular feminine ("she") - used for humans and female animals
*third-person singular human ("they") - used widely in informal educated speech, e.g. "If a customer requires help, they should contact..." (stylistically in formal writing, "they" would be replaced with "he or she" here)
*third-person singular generic human ("one") - in formal usage, e.g. "If one is kind to others, they often reciprocate." - informally, English speakers would use "you" here
*third-person singular neuter ("it") - used for objects and animals whose sex is unknown and as a dummy subject, e.g. "It is raining."
*third-person plural ("they")

Unlike English nouns, which are undeclined for case except for possession ("woman/woman's"), English pronouns have a number of forms or "cases" depending on their grammatical role in a sentence:

*a "subjective case" form ("I"/"we"/etc.), used when a pronoun is the subject of a finite verb
*an "objective case" form ("me"/"us"/etc.), used when it is the object of verb or of a preposition
*a "possessive case" form ("mine"/"ours"/etc.), used when it is the possessor of another noun — one that is used as a determiner, and one that is used as a pronoun or a predicate adjective
*a "reflexive" form ("myself"/"ourselves"/etc.), which replaces the objective-case form in referring to the same entity as the subject.

Pronouns in other languages

*Bulgarian pronouns
*Chinese pronouns
*
*
*French pronouns
*German pronouns
*Ido pronouns
*Interlingua pronouns
*
*
*Japanese Pronouns
*
*Portuguese personal pronouns
*
*Vietnamese pronouns

ee also

* Anaphora (linguistics)
* Cataphora
* Gender issues: Gender-specific pronoun, Gender-neutral pronoun, Generic antecedents
*Deixis
*Pro-form
*Pronoun game

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pronoun — Pro noun, n. [Pref. pro + noun: cf. F. pronom, L. pronomen. See {Noun}.] (Gram.) A word used instead of a noun or name, to avoid the repetition of it. The personal pronouns in English are I, thou or you, he, she, it, we, ye, and they. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pronoun — 1520s, from PRO (Cf. pro ) and NOUN (Cf. noun); modeled on M.Fr. pronom, from L. pronomen, from pro in place of + nomen name, noun. A loan translation of Gk. antonymia. Adj. pronomial is recorded from 1640s …   Etymology dictionary

  • pronoun — ► NOUN ▪ a word used instead of a noun to indicate someone or something already mentioned or known, e.g. I, she, this …   English terms dictionary

  • pronoun — [prō′noun΄] n. [altered (infl. by NOUN) < MFr pronom < L pronomen < pro, for + nomen, NOUN] Gram. any of a small class of relationship or signal words that assume the functions of nouns within clauses or phrases while referring to other… …   English World dictionary

  • pronoun — pro|noun [ˈprəunaun US ˈprou ] n [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: pro + noun, on the model of Latin pronomen pronoun , from nomen name ] a word that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase, such as he instead of Peter or the man →↑demonstrative pronoun …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pronoun — [[t]pro͟ʊnaʊn[/t]] pronouns N COUNT A pronoun is a word that you use to refer to someone or something when you do not need to use a noun, often because the person or thing has been mentioned earlier. Examples are it , she , something , and myself …   English dictionary

  • pronoun — n. a demonstrative; indefinite; interrogative; personal; possessive; reflexive; relative pronoun * * * indefinite interrogative personal possessive reflexive relative pronoun a demonstrative …   Combinatory dictionary

  • pronoun — noun (C) a word that is used instead of a noun or noun phrase, such as he instead of Peter or instead of the man see also: demonstrative pronoun, personal pronoun …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • pronoun */ — UK [ˈprəʊnaʊn] / US [ˈproʊˌnaʊn] noun [countable] Word forms pronoun : singular pronoun plural pronouns linguistics a word used instead of a noun for referring to a person or thing that has been mentioned earlier, for example she , they , that ,… …   English dictionary

  • pronoun —   word used in place of a noun or nouns. In I like walking and reading; such are my pleasures, such is a pronoun standing for reading and walking. Pronouns have been variously grouped by different authorities. Among the more common groupings are… …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors


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