June 01, 2008


Let’s read the paragraph written below.

 Ram was a brave archer.  Ram with Ram’s brother Lakshman fought bravely against the demonic army of Ravan, the great demon king of Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravan’s custody.  Ram was a great king and a great husband as well. 

 This paragraph sounds repetitive as the Noun Ram, Ravan comes in every sentence and it becomes cacophonous to hear such repetition.  Don’t worry English grammar has something to relief us from the monotony and repetition of such Nouns. 


Now let’s read the same paragraph again.


Ram was a brave archer.  He along with his brother Lakshman fought bravely against the demonic army of Ravan, the great demon king of Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana’s custody.  Ram was a great king and a great husband as well. 


Now the paragraph has gained life as it sheds all its repetitive nature.  Now anyone can read and understand the small paragraph.  The changes that came in the sentence are nothing but the use of small words like He, his.  We call these small words as PRONOUN.  Simply speaking the small words in the second paragraph replaced Nouns like Ram, Ram’s.   Pro mean in place of, yes these two words are used in place of Nouns.  That’s why these words are called PRONOUN as they are used for the Nouns.  Remember pronouns are used as back references.  In other words without the use of Nouns we cannot use Pronouns.  Initially there should be the use of Nouns and subsequently we replace such nouns with suitable pronouns.  In the example paragraph the word Ram is used once and later, HE is used in place of Ram.  His has replaced the possessive noun Ram’s.  That’s clearly says without the use of noun we generally don’t use pronouns.  However, in our writing we use generic pronouns like IT, THEY to refer to a known cluster or people.  Let’s know more about PRONOUN.


Pronouns standing for persons in relation to the speaker are divided into three categories:


1. Speaker…..                               I

   Speaker+others…                    We                    First person

2. Person or persons addressed…You                 Second person.

3.   Person or thing                      He She It     

   Person or things spoken of       They                Third person.


These pronouns are called PERSONAL PRONOUN.

He visited Mumbai once.  They visited Kolkata Many times.

Order of personal pronouns: 

You, he and I are friends. 

Now study the following examples:

I did it myself.

He did it himself.

They do these themselves.

She did it herself.

The compounds of self are called REFLEXIVE PRONOUN.

Remember we cannot use this without the use their parent pronoun.

Like this:  We often hear people introducing themselves using the reflexive pronoun.

Myself a chartered accountant, now working for a big firm in Kolkata.

The use of this myself is completely wrong, as the pronoun I is missing.  ‘I myself’ is the right form.


Sometime the reflexive pronoun is used for emphasizing.    And for this they are also known as EMPHASIZING PRONOUN.

Our class teacher himself solved the sum.

He himself went to the office to see the movement of the file.

Note if the emphasizing pronoun is left out the sentence still makes sense but if the reflexive pronoun is omitted the sentence is incomplete and makes no meaning.



One should not be so boastful.

You should mind your words.

They say it is going to rain.


Here the word one, you and they are used in a generic sense and not addressed to a particular person.  When one is used in this sense, the possessive One’s is used instead of other pronoun like his.  They exclude the speaker and refer to certain people. 


It was a good match.

It was raining.

It was about midday.

It was fall.

Here the small word IT is an impersonal pronoun without any meaning.  It only comes in the position of the subject and functioning as a subject. 





They made a truce and decided to respect each other. (Two people)

Good neighbours help one other. (More than two)

The two stray dogs barked at each other.

They often stay in one another’s room.


The word like each other and one another are called Reciprocal pronoun. 



What have you in your pocket?

Who is there crying?

Who/ whom do you want?

Who did you give the letter to?

To whom did you give the book?

Whose is that cycle?

Whose cycle is that?

Which is your book?


Wh… word are called INTEROGATIVE PRONOUNS. These words are used to get some answers by asking some questions. Note that who has its object form Whom and possessive form Whose. In speech and writing whom is generally replaced by who except after a preposition. We use to whom and not to who.




The man who/ that sells grapes comes from Nasik.

Those who/ that did this is a good boy.

God helps those who/that help themselves.

The fellow whom/ that I saw yesterday was a pickpocket.

The noise which/that you hear comes from a refrigerator.

The eggs that/ which I ate yesterday gave me colic pain.


These are relative pronouns as they refer to a noun or pronoun used before. The nouns or pronouns is called the antecedent of the relative pronoun.


Who and whom are used for person only.

Which is used for things only.

That is used both for persons and things.

Note that the relative pronoun ‘That’ has no plural form as we cannot change it to ‘Those.’ We cannot say: The eggs those I bought.

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