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Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the parts of speech, but some modern theorists would not limit them to a single class because of the variety of functions they perform, including that of the personal pronouns, relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and indefinite pronouns.:1–34
The use of pronouns often involves anaphora, where the meaning of the pronoun is dependent on another referential element. This applies particularly to the (third-person) personal pronouns. The referent of the pronoun is often the same as that of a preceding (or sometimes following) noun phrase, called the antecedent of the pronoun. For example, in the sentence That poor man looks as if he needs a new coat, the antecedent of the pronoun he is the noun phrase that poor man. (Pronouns used without antecedents are sometimes called unprecursed pronouns.) Another type of antecedent is that found with relative pronouns, as in the woman who looked at you, where the woman is the antecedent of the relative pronoun who.
Pronouns can be divided into several categories: personal, indefinite, reflexive, reciprocal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative and relative.
|Third||Singular||he, she, it||him, her, it|
Personal pronouns may be classified by person, number and case. In the English language, there are three persons (first, second and third), each of which can be divided into two forms by number (singular and plural), as in the table. Third person also distinguishes gender (male, female or neuter).:52–53
English has two cases, subject and object. Subject pronouns are used when the person or thing is the subject of the sentence or clause (I like to eat chips, but she does not.). Object pronouns are used when the person or thing is the object of the sentence or clause (John likes me but not her).:52–53
Other distinctions include:
Reflexive pronouns are used when a person or thing acts on itself, for example, John cut himself. In English they all end in -self or -selves and must refer to a noun phrase elsewhere in the same clause.:55
Reciprocal pronouns refer to a reciprocal relationship (each other, one another). They must refer to a noun phrase in the same clause.:55 An example in English is: They do not like each other.
Possessive pronouns are used to indicate possession or ownership. Some occur as independent noun phrases: mine, yours, hers, ours, yours, theirs. An example is: Those clothes are mine. Others do not: my, your, her, our, your, their, as in, I lost my wallet. (Depending on the context, his and its can fall in either category.) Because the latter have a syntactic role close to that of adjectives, always qualifying a noun, some grammarians classify them as determiners. They replace possessive noun phrases. As an example, Their crusade to capture our attention could replace The advertisers' crusade to capture our attention.:55–56
Demonstrative pronouns (in English, this, that and their plurals these, those) often distinguish their targets by pointing or some other indication of position; for example, I'll take these. They may also be anaphoric, depending on an earlier expression for context, for example, A kid actor would try to be all sweet, and who needs that?:56
Indefinite pronouns, the largest group of pronouns, refer to one or more unspecified persons or things. One group in English includes compounds of some-, any-, every- and no- with -thing, -one and -body, for example: Anyone can do that. Another group, including many, more, both, and most, can appear alone or followed by of.:54–55 In addition,
Relative pronouns (who, whom, whose, what, which and that) refer back to people or things previously mentioned: People who smoke should quit now. They are used in relative clauses.:56 Indefinite relative pronouns have some of the properties of both relative pronouns and indefinite pronouns. They have a sense of "referring back", but the person or thing to which they refer has not previously been explicitly named: I know what I like.
Interrogative pronouns ask which person or thing is meant. In reference to a person, one may use who (subject), whom (object) or whose (possessive); for example, Who did that? In colloquial speech, whom is generally replaced by who. Non-personal pronouns (which and what) have only one form.:56–57
In many languages (e.g., Czech, English, French, Interlingua, and Russian), the sets of relative and interrogative pronouns are nearly identical. Compare English: Who is that? (interrogative) to I know who that is.
|Personal (1st/2nd)||we||we Brits|
|This section possibly contains original research. (February 2014)|
Pronouns have been classified as one of the parts of speech since at least the 2nd century BC when they were included in the Greek treatise Art of Grammar. Objections to this approach have appeared among grammatical theories in the 20th century. Their grammatical heterogeneity, many-sided pronouns were underlined, which were classified as follows:[clarification needed]
A pronominal is a phrase that acts as a pronoun. For example, in "That's not the one I wanted", the phrase the one is a pronominal.
In other languages
|Look up pronoun in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Look up Category:Pronouns by language in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|