Grammar’s Pinch Hitters

What is a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that stands for and takes the place of one or more nouns or noun phrases. Personal pronouns are the ones that generally come to mind when somebody mentions the word pronoun.

What is an antecedent?

An antecedent is the noun or noun phrase to which a pronoun refers. By etymology, an antecedentshould appear before or in front of the pronoun that takes the antecedent’s place.

Example: Lenny Kravitz is a famous musician, but he also portrayed Cinna in the movies

The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. (The pronoun is he; its

antecedent is Lenny Kravitz.)

What is a personal pronoun?

A personal pronoun is a word that can replace and refers back to a noun or noun phrase. Personal pronouns are divided into three main categories: subjective, objective, and possessive.

What is a subjective pronoun?

Pronouns in the subjective case are also called subjective or subject pronouns. They are pronouns that can serve as the subject of a clause. To test if a pronoun is a subjective pronoun, insert it into the following sentence: ______feel(s) great.

first-person singular: I first-person plural: we

second-person singular: you second-person plural: you

third-person singular: he, she, itthird-person plural: they

Subjective pronouns are also referred to as nominative pronouns.

What is an objective pronoun?

Pronouns in the objective case are also called objective or object pronouns. Unlike subjective pronouns, objective pronouns cannot serve as the subject of a clause. Instead, objective pronouns frequently appear in a sentence’s predicate, receiving the action of the verb, or as part of a phrase. To test if a pronoun is an objective pronoun, insert it into the song title “Happy Birthday to ______” or the following sentence: Music makes ______happy.

first-person singular: me first-person plural: us

second-person singular: you second-person plural: you

third-person singular: him, her, itthird-person plural: them

What is a possessive pronoun?

A possessive pronoun is one that shows possession. There are two types of possessive pronouns. One will be used to show ownership of a noun by being placed right in front of the noun, such as in the sentence ______dog has run away.

first-person singular: my first-person plural: our

second-person singular: your second-person plural: your

third-person singular: his, her, itsthird-person plural: their

A second type of possessive pronoun is used by itself to show ownership and does not precede nouns, such as in the sentence That dog is ______.

first-person singular: mine first-person plural: ours

second-person singular: yours second-person plural: yours

third-person singular: his, hers, its third-person plural: theirs

Example: Eddie plays guitar, and his brother, Alex, is a drummer. (The possessive pronoun is his; its antecedent is Eddie.)

Example: Lita has a love of desserts, but the cupcake on the kitchen table is not hers. (The possessive pronoun is hers; its antecedent is Lita).

Unlike possessive nouns, possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes.

Note: Pronouns referring to males, such as he, him, and his, are masculine pronouns, and pronouns referring to females, including she, her, and hers, are feminine pronouns. All other personal pronouns are gender-neutral pronouns.