Wednesday, September 26, 2012
The Rules of Writing-Parts of Speech-Pronoun 2
Published: September 21, 2012

Are there different types of pronouns?

Pronouns can have several cases and different roles:

Subject pronouns
I, you, he, she, it, we, and they are the subjects in a sentence and team with linking verbs. Examples:

He and I are going to massacre the town.

Yes, this is he, formerly known as she.

Robin and he brought a stripper’s pole.

He is wider than she.

We girls will be back in time for the sacrifice.

We are smellier than they.

The sentences above are grammatically correct. They might read strange because we often hear people use object pronouns where subject pronouns are required.

What is a writer to do? Shouldn’t dialogue sound like real people? Above all, the writer needs to know correct usage. If he then chooses to use incorrect grammar to match the speech of a character, he can do so. This said, some writers publish children’s books full of grammatical errors because “this is how kids talk.” Children are learning to talk. Filling their stories with errors does not serve their learning.

Object pronouns
Me, you, him, her, it, us, and them are objects of verbs or prepositions.

Jason’s dog peed on me.

“Me” is the direct object of the verb “peed.”

Hal gave us tickets to the game.

“Us” is the indirect object of “gave.”

Hal gave the corpses to Frank and me.

“Me” is an object of the preposition “to” as well as an indirect object.

Possessive pronouns
Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs show ownership.

Is this your finger? Yes, it’s mine.

Is this hers or yours? Hers.

No apostrophes are used with possessive pronouns (like its) but are used with contractions (like it’s for “it is”).

The prize is ours.

The dragon wagged its tail.

Rudy and Jan said the wagon is theirs.

Possessive pronouns are used before gerunds (verbal forms ending in “ing” that function as nouns.)

Terry’s aunt applauded his sailing in the race.

Reflexive pronouns
Myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves show that someone or something is acting for itself or on itself. Reflexive pronouns are often used as intensifiers.

I can do it myself.

They, themselves, are responsible for this mess.

The cat groomed itself with tongue and paw.

Demonstrative pronouns
This, that, these, and those refer to objects and, sometimes, to people.

These pants are dirty.

Do you prefer these colors or those?

This is she. (telephone response to e.g. “May I speak to the person in charge?”)

This is my family.

Relative pronouns
That, which, who, whom, and whose show the relationship of a dependent clause to a noun in the sentence.

Relative pronouns link two phrases or clauses. The relative pronouns are similar to the interrogative pronouns but they are not used to ask a question.

This is the bull that gored the matador.

A “loser,” which consists of decaf, milk substitute, and saccharine, is a parody of coffee.

Interrogative pronouns
Who, whom, whose, which, what, whoever, whomever and whichever are used to ask questions.

Whose sandals are these?

Which flavor do you prefer?

Indefinite pronouns
These make indefinite reference to nouns and are grouped as a function of their requirements.

Some indefinite pronouns require a singular verb: anyone/anybody; everyone/everybody;
someone/somebody; everything/nothing; either; one.

Other indefinite pronouns require a plural verb : both, few, many.

Finally, some indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural, depending on the meaning of the sentence: some, none, more, most, any, all.

Everybody is here.

Many are called, but few are chosen.

Most of my work is finished.

Writer’s Companion, Renee Miller & Carlos Cortes

Login/Register to leave a comment, or Login using or
Post Comments
No Comment Found.