A List of Pronouns of Different Types

The following list of pronouns gives you a description of the various types of pronouns along with examples for each type.

Personal Pronouns

These are pronouns that refer mostly to human beings. However, the word 'it' does not refer to human beings, but is a Personal Pronoun.

So, we have a more grammatical way of defining Personal Pronouns so that we can include the hapless it in the Personal Pronoun family.

A Personal Pronoun is a pronoun which belongs to any of the three grammatical persons.

The list of pronouns which belong to this group are: I, we, you, he, she, it, and they.

Often you'll find Personal Pronouns divided into:

  • Subjective Pronouns (I, we, you, he, she, it, they)

  • Objective Pronouns (me, us, you, him, her, it, them)

  • Possessive Pronouns (mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs;
    with also the following ones, which strictly speaking, are adjectives - my, our, your, her, their).

Just remember that these three so-called "types" are not really different types.
They are just different Case forms of one type of pronoun, i.e. Personal Pronouns.

Compound Personal Pronouns

There are two sub-types of these pronouns: Reflexive pronouns and Intensive pronouns. These two sub-types have the same forms, but different functions.

Same Forms

According to form, we can call these pronouns Compound Personal Pronouns.

A list of pronouns of this kind are:
myself, ourselves, yourself, yourselves, himself, herself, itself, themselves.

Different Functions

Depending on the function, we divide the Compound Personals into the two types we mentioned.

Reflexive Pronouns

These pronouns function as grammatical objects or complements which mirror the subject, as in...

  • herself—She blamed herself for the mishap.
  • himself—He is himself today.

Intensive Pronouns

These pronouns act as appositives of nouns or pronouns for the sake of emphasis, as in the examples below...

  • yourself—You yourself wrote those words.
  • themselves—This request came from the employees themselves.

Demonstrative Pronouns

These pronouns point out someone or something. They are identical in form to Demonstrative Adjectives/Determiners.

The difference is that...

  • a Demonstrative Pronoun stands alone (because it is a substitute for a noun or noun phrase),
  • but a Demonstrative Adjective is accompanied by the noun it modifies.

Here are two examples to show the difference:

  • She gave me this gift. (this - Demonstrative Adjective)
  • I like this. (this - Demonstrative Pronoun)

More examples of Demonstrative Pronouns:

  • these - These are my children.
  • that - That is a good idea.
  • those - The streets of Chennai are more crowded than those of Kodaikanal.
  • such - Such are the people whom you once trusted.

Indefinite Pronouns

These pronouns do stand for some person or thing, but we don't know for exactly whom.

When we say, "Somebody stole my watch," we don't know to whom the word somebody refers to. The word somebody is an Indefinite Pronoun.

A list of pronouns of this type are...

  • one - One should speak the truth.
  • somebody - Somebody immediately called the doctor.
  • anybody - Anybody can solve this problem.
  • nobody - Nobody was present.
  • many - Many are called, but few are chosen.
  • others - Do good to others.
  • you - You don't take coal to Newcastle, or coconuts to Kerala!
  • they - They say that a poor workman blames his tools.

Distributive Pronouns

These pronouns refer to individual elements in a group or a pair, one individual at a time.

Here's a list of pronouns of this type...

  • each - "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
  • either - You may answer either of these (two) questions first.
  • neither - Neither of the answers is correct.
  • any - You may bring any of your friends.
  • none - None of our students failed last year.

Reciprocal Pronouns

These pronouns are found in pairs. They are really a subject-object pair compressed. We'll find this if we expand the sentence in which they are present, as in the first example below.

When one gives, the other member of the pair also gives in return. That's what we mean by reciprocity...hence Reciprocal Pronouns.

Examples:

  • each other - They love each other. (i.e. Each loves the other.)
    Each (the subject) is used in a distributive sense; the other (the object) automatically takes the reciprocal position. Each stands for both individuals, one at a time.

  • one another - Good people help one another to succeed.

Relative Pronouns

These pronouns are very important words in the language. A Relative Pronoun performs two functions:

  • It acts as a substitute for a noun (like any pronoun)
  • It also functions as a joining word for two clauses.

So, besides being a noun-substitute, it performs a function similar to that of a subordinating conjunction.

Here's a list of pronouns that belong to this important category...

  • who - Give this to the boy who wins the race.
  • whose - This is Mohan, whose mobile phone was stolen last week.
  • whom - Rita, whom you praised in class yesterday, is my sister.
  • which - This is the problem, which we are struggling to solve.
  • that - This is the day that we have waited for so long.
  • what - Eat what is set before you.

You also have Compound Relative Pronouns.

They are: whoever, whatever, whichever, whosoever, whatsoever, and whichsoever.

Using any of the last three is old-fashioned.

Interrogative Pronouns

These look like Relative Pronouns, but have a different function. We use them for asking questions. There are three of them:

  • who (with its other forms, whose and whom)
    • who - Who is that man?
    • Whose - Whose is this wallet?
    • Whom - Whom do you seek?

  • which - Which is your seat?

  • what - What is your name?

From this list of pronouns, I can tell you, that you will need more time to study Personal Pronouns and Relative Pronouns, than any other. Their study involves dealing with more language elements than the others.

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Related Pages

What is a Noun?

Kinds of Nouns

Common Nouns

Proper Nouns

Collective Nouns

Concrete and Abstract Nouns

Countable Nouns

Forms and Functions

Number

Gender

Case