Pronoun, its categories

The pronoun

The definition of pronouns as a separate part of speech has cause many difficulties. More that once in the history of linguistics the very existence of pronoun a as a part of speech has been denied. However, attempts of this kind have not proved successful and in present-day grammars, both English and Russian, pronouns are recognized as a part of speech, which have the categorical meaning of indication. The pronouns, though pointing to things cannot be modified by adjectives, cannot be connected with any article or modified by a prepositional phrase.

 Classification of Pronouns (Western Approach)

  1.  Personal Pronouns

A personal pronoun refers to a specific person or thing and changes its form to indicate person, number, gender and case.

Personal pronouns are subdivided into Subjective Personal Pronouns, Objective Personal Pronouns and Possessive Personal Pronouns.

A Subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the sentence.

The subjective personal pronouns are “I, you, she, he, it, we, they”

 You are surely the strangest child I have ever met.

An objective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object of a verb, compound verb, preposition, or infinitive phrase. The objective personal pronouns are: me, you, her, him, it, us, you and them.

 Deborah will meet us in the market.

A possessive pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as a marker of possession and defines who owns a particular object or person. The possessive personal pronouns are: my, your, her, his, our, their; mine, yours, hers, his, its, ours and theirs.

 The smallest gift is mine.

2) Demonstrative pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun points to and identifies a noun or a pronoun. The demonstrative pronouns are: this, that, these and those. This and that are used to refer to singular nouns or noun phrases and those are used to refer to plural nouns and noun phrases.  

 This must not continue.

3)Interrogative pronouns.

An interrogative pronoun is used to ask questions. The interrogative pronouns are: who, whom, which, what and the compounds formed with the suffix “ever” (whoever, whomever, whichever, whatever)

 Whom do you think we should invite?

4) Relative pronouns

You can use a relative pronoun to link one phrase or clause to another phrase or clause. The relative pronouns are: who, whom, that and which. The compounds whoever, whomever, whichever are also relative pronouns.

 The candidate who wins the greatest popular vote is not always elected.

5) Indefinite pronouns

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun referring to an identifiable but not specified person or thing. An indefinite pronoun conveys the idea of all, any, none, or some.

The most common indefinite pronouns are: all, another, any, anyone, anybody, each, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, nobody, none, one, several, some, somebody, someone, something.

The office had been searched and everything was thrown onto the floor.

6) Reflexive pronouns

You can use a reflective pronoun to refer back to the subject of the clause or sentence. The reflexive pronouns are: myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, yourselves and themselves.

 The Dean often does the photocopying herself.

7) Intensive pronouns

An intensive pronoun is used to emphasize its antecedent. Intensive pronouns are identical in form to reflexive pronouns.

 I myself believe that aliens should abduct my sister.

 The Prime Minister himself said that he would lower taxes.

 They themselves promised to come to the party even though they had                                                                             a final exam at the same time.

Categories in pronouns (Russian approach)

Case . Some pronouns distinguish between two cases which are best termed nominative and objective. These are the following: nominative (I, he, she (it), we (you), they, who); objective (me, him, her, (it), us, (you), them, whom)

The two pronouns in brackets, it and you might have been left out of the list, but we have included them because they share many other peculiarities with the pronouns I, he, she, we and they. No other pronoun, and, indeed, no one other word in the language has that kind of case system.

A certain number of pronouns have a different system. They distinguish between a common and a genitive case. These are somebody, anybody, one, another, and a few more.

All other pronouns have no category of case (something, anything, nothing, everything, some, any, no, my, his, mine, hers, etc)

Number. The category of number has only a very restricted field in pronouns. It is found in the pronouns this/ these, that/those, other/others (if not used before a noun)

As to the pronouns I/we; he, she, it/they, it must stated that there is no grammatical category of number here. We is not a form of I, but a separate word. In a similar way, they is not a form of he, she or it, but a separate word.

A peculiar difficulty arises here with reference to the pronouns myself/ (ourself) ourselves; yourself/ yourselves; himself, herself, itself/ themselves

 If we compare the two pronouns myself and ourselves, we shall see that the difference between the first elements of two words is purely lexical, whereas the second elements differ from each other by the same suffix –s that is used to form the plural of most nouns. Thus we are brought to the conclusion that ourselves is essentially a different word from myself.

There are no other grammatical categories in the English pronouns: there is no category of gender. The pronouns he, she, it and also the pronouns his, her, its; his, hers; himself, herself, itself, are all separate words. Thus, she is not a form of the word he had a separate word in its own right.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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