A pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of a noun. They include such words as I, we, he, she, thy, me and us.
Pronouns enable you to avoid repeating the same names (nouns), when writing or speaking, which would otherwise make you sound very awkward and wordy.
By using pronouns effectively, you can make your writing and speaking flow smoothly.
Pronouns can be classified into 6 types.
These are personal, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive and intensive pronouns.
A personal pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or another pronoun.
They are used to refer to nouns that name persons or things.
Awkward Kamau put on Kamau’s gum boots. Then Kamau went to the shamba.
Improved Kamau put on his gum boots. Then he went to the shamba.
In the above example, the personal pronoun his helps the writer avoid repeating the same noun.
The pronoun he acts as a bridge to connect the two sentences. Personal pronouns are further classified in terms of person and gender.
In terms of person, personal pronouns can be divided into three classes.
(i) First person – I, my, me, we, our and us.
These ones refer to the person(s) speaking.
Example: I always ride my bike to school.
(ii) Second person – you, your, yours
These refer to the person(s) spoken to.
Example: I will call you tomorrow.
(iii) Third person – he, his, him, she, hers, her, it, its, they, their, them.
These ones refer to another person(s) or thing(s) that is being spoken of.
The personal pronoun it usually replaces a noun that stands for a thing or an animal. It is never used in place of a person.
Personal pronouns can also be classified by gender. Gender can either be masculine (referring to male people), feminine (referring to female people) or neuter (referring to animals or things).
Joseph cleaned his car. (His is the third person, masculine gender).
Isabel said the dress was hers (Hers is the third person, feminine gender).
The dog wagged its tail. (Its is the third person, neuter gender).
Forms of Personal Pronouns
In English, personal pronouns have three forms: the subject form, the object form and the possessive form.
She is a painter (subject form)
He praised her. (Object form)
It is her best painting. (Possessive form).
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