When the everyday demands of being a hard-working part of speech begin to weigh down on nouns, pronouns step in to take some of the load. They come in a wide variety of shapes and perform a wide variety of roles, syntactically speaking, even if it is a little hard to tell which is which.
The personal pronouns step in to take the place of the nouns about people (or, more accurately, the grammatical persons) in a sentence, the parts of speech which operate the verbs in a sentence and do all the hard work. When I talk to you about personal pronouns, the italicised words are the pronouns involved.
If you need to find out more about what is going on, you can use interrogative pronouns, most of which begin with w. Who are you talking to?, for example.
If you need to add some information to your sentence, then relative pronouns are the way to go. I’m talking to that woman who broke your window last night, for example, supplies more information about the woman by using a linking who.
Demonstrative pronouns also help to clarify matters as you use them to indicate distance in either time or space (or figuratively). That was such a beautiful window places the window in the past, at a temporal distance; whereas, this is a boring one presents us with a window in the here and/or now.
Indefinite pronouns cover a lot of territory, brought together only by the fact they do not refer to any noun or noun phrase, otherwise known as an antecedent. This category includes words like anybody, such, few, no one, several, every, something and so on.
Possessive pronouns are used to represent the possessive noun, i.e., her glamorous swimwear becomes hers, as in that’s my bikini, this is hers. Relative pronouns also link more information to a noun, such as the bikini, which she wore at the pool party in Ibiza.
If you want to show that the action in your sentence applies to both object and subject, then you use a reflexive pronoun, which in English usually ends with –self or –selves: for example, he kept himself busy by writing about pronouns.
|personal pronouns||I, me, you, she, her, it, he, him, we, us, they, them|
|indefinite pronouns||any, anyone, anything, some, someone, something, none, nobody, no one, one, few, several, many, all, both, each, much, enough|
|possessive pronouns||mine, yours, hers, his, ours, theirs, Churchill’s, nobody’s|
|demonstrative pronouns||this, that, these, those, yon (yep, yon)|
|reflexive pronouns||myself, yourself, herself, itself, himself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, themselves, oneself|
|relative pronouns||that, which, who, whose, whom|