For a thorough understanding of Pronouns we need to know...
They are words that take the place of nouns. They are substitutes for nouns.
It is painful for the ear to hear and the eye to read the same noun over and over again. When the same word is repeated often, we get irritated.
Here's what I mean. Read the following paragraph about a former tennis star. Try to read it aloud.
Vijay Amrithraj was a brilliant tennis player. Vijay Amrithraj's shots were graceful and appeared effortless. Vijay Amrithraj had a great quality. Whenever an opponent made a good shot, Vijay Amrithraj would applaud. It showed that Vijay Amrithraj was a great human being. I am Vijay Amrithraj's fan even today.
Here I am trying to talk about brilliance and grace...
but see how tedious the language is
to read about those things!
Now let's read that paragraph about Amrithraj with a pronoun substituted for the name Vijay Amrithraj every time it occurs, except the first time.
Vijay Amrithraj was a brilliant tennis player. His shots were graceful and appeared effortless. He had a great quality. Whenever an opponent made a good shot, he would applaud. It showed that he was a great human being. I am his fan even today.
That sounds better, doesn't it? Pronouns make things easier to read and hear. They are substitutes for bigger-looking or harder-sounding words.
Look at these sentences:
The word they in sentence 3 is a substitute for the phrase those very smart boys in sentence 2. If the word they had replaced only boys, the sentence would have read:
*Those very smart they like bikes.
That would be an ungrammatical sentence. (The asterisk * indicates an ungrammatical sentence in English language teaching.)
So we know they are substitutes for noun phrases, not merely for single nouns.In grammar, even the single word boys of sentence 1 is considered to be a noun phrase.
Since it takes the place of a noun, it must be like a noun. It has the grammatical properties of a noun and does the work of a noun.
Like a noun, it has number, gender and case. A fourth property which it has is that of person.
A pronoun may be singular or plural.
It may be masculine, feminine, common, or neuter.
Case refers to the different forms associated with the different jobs a noun or a pronoun does in a sentence. In the examples below, I show you the different forms of he performing different functions in sentences.
A pronoun can be...
These various functions of pronouns become visible to us through the different forms they can take in a sentence.
Unfortunately, in English, we don't have a unique form for every particular use, unlike in languages like, Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, or Hindi. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the different forms and uses.
In English, we economize on the number of forms! We make do with a few of them for the many tasks, I have listed above.
Read this page for more about...
Case forms and functions of nouns and pronouns.
Pronouns are divided into three grammatical persons.
All nouns belong to the Third Person; so we usually don't talk about person when referring to nouns.
Pronouns consist of a limited number of words. You can't keep adding to their number. Nouns are numerous and we can keep adding to a list of nouns.
This page on the list-of-pronouns will give you...