In this chapter we are going to discuss the following topics

  • Pronouns and its Types
  • Exceptions in Agreement
  • Troublesome Pronouns


  1. Personal pronouns
  2. Possessive Pronoun
  3. Reflexive Pronouns
  4. Emphatic Pronouns or Intensive Pronouns


Personal means a speaker (first person), a listener (second person), and a person or object is spoken about (third person).


  • Personal Pronoun as Subject: Answers the question word “Who or What”.
  • Personal Pronoun as Object: Answers the question word “Whom or What”.


  • I am 16. “Who is What?”
  • You astonished me. ” Who astonished whom?”
  • He is doing a great job. “Who is doing what?”
  • It is making me crazy. “What is making whom what?”







Positive/Affirmative Sentence: II, III, and/or I + Verb + Object

Example: You, Shyam, and I am leaving to market. (not You, Shyam and I are)

Note:  Verb agrees to the nearest Subject. Verb as singular/plural or agreement with pronoun is already mentioned in our handbook.

Negative Sentence: I, II, and/or III + Verb + Object


I, you, and Shyam is not leaving to market. (not I, you, and Shyam are)



  • HE

We use a third-person pronoun instead of a full noun phrase when it is clear what we mean. But, we cannot use a pronoun when it is not clear who it refers to.

Note: A pronoun usually goes after the full noun phrase, but it can come first.

When he got home, Chandru rang to thank us.


  • IT

“It” means something not human such as a thing, an action or an idea.

Example: It is really a vicious idea.

We also use ‘it” when talking about someone’s identity. It means ‘the unknown person’ or ‘unknown sex’ for a human baby.

Example: There’s someone at the door. It’s probably the watchman.

Look at that baby, it is crying a lot.



Possessive pronouns replace possessive nouns as either the subject or the object of a clause.

Note : Possessive pronoun answers for the question word ‘whose’.


  • My car is parked there.
  • Mine (my car) is parked there.


Possessive Nouns (whose?)Possessive Pronouns (whose?)
My carMine
Your Caryours
His carhis
Her carher
Its Kittenits


Possessive Nouns (whose?)Possessive Pronouns (whose?)
Our carOurs
Your CarYours
Their CarTheirs



Reflexive pronouns refer back to the subject of the clause because the subject of the action is also the direct or indirect object.

We form reflexive/emphatic pronouns with self or selves.


I told myself to work hard.


a)After a preposition we sometimes use me, you etc and sometimes myself, yourself etc. We use me, you etc after a preposition of place when it is clear that the pronoun must refer to the subject


  • I didn’t have my driving license with me.
  • My mother likes all the family around her.


b) Sometimes we use a reflexive to make the meaning clear.


  • I bought these chocolates for myself. (not for someone else)
  • Vincent has a very high opinion of himself. (not of someone else)


c)We also use myself etc rather than me etc after a prepositional verb, e.g. believe in.


  • If you’re going to succeed in life, you must believe in yourself.

Singular Reflexive Pronoun: Myself, yourself, himself, herself, and itself.

Plural Reflexive Pronoun: Ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.



a)We use an emphatic pronoun to emphasize a noun phrase or subject clause. Self/selves is stressed.

Example: The baby itself is trying to walk. (not someone else)

b) And, the pronoun can also mean ‘without help’. In this meaning, it usually comes in the end position.

Example: We made the cookies ourselves.



Indefinite pronouns are used for persons and objects in a general way. So to make a verb agree with a pronoun is confusing with indefinite pronouns. To eliminate this confusion follow the notes giving below.



1)The words each, every, either, neither, many a, one, compound words for body (somebody, everybody, nobody, anybody), compound words for thing (something, everything, nothing, anything), and compound words for one (someone, everyone, no one, anyone) used as pronouns or as adjectives, are always singular and require singular verbs.


  • Each child was given a medal.
  • Each of them was given a medal.
  • Everybody in office is seated.
  • No one is entitled to this task.


2)Both, others, several, few (a few, very few, the few) and many used as pronouns or as adjectives, are always plural.


  • Both awards are nominated to Abbas.


3)All, any, more, most, several, some and none may be singular or plural depending on the meaning, and take verbs accordingly.


  • All the books have been sold.
  • Most of the stock has been sold.
  • More of these books are to be sold.


A) A parenthetical ‘each’ follows a plural noun or pronoun the verb should be plural.


  • Ten each of these books are required.
  • They each have their responsibility.


B) Use either or neither when referring to one out of two persons or things and when referring to one out of more than two, use any, none, no one.


  • Either of the two boys can pay for it.
  • Neither of the two sisters has been selected.
  • Anyone of the employees can claim it.
  • None of the students have passed.


C) Parallelism with pronoun word one must be one’s and not ‘his, her or him’.

Example: One should keep one’s promise. (not his promise)


D) Parallelism with pronoun words, anyone, anybody, each one, everyone, someone, use his or her.

Example: Everyone should take care of his health. (not one’s health)


E)In sentences containing the words ‘one of’, the verb is chosen as follows

  • In simple form ‘one of’ or ‘one of the’, a singular verb is chosen.

Example: One of the plates is missing from the dining table.

  • The sentences containing phrases ‘one of those who/that’, a plural verb is required.


  • He is one of those leaders who motivate the staff.
  • Here ‘motivate’ agrees with ‘those leaders’.


  1.  The practical difficulties in the correct use of Question pronouns are in the use of case, Who or Whom.
  2.  Many times we misuse the Relative pronouns who, whoever for whom, whomever, because they are placed at the beginnings of clauses.
  3.  All other tricky pronouns with multiple possibilities.

To eliminate all these practical hindrances we have to be thorough with the usage of pronouns.


Who, What, Which, Whose and Whom are the Question words or the pronouns.

1) Illustration: “Who” is a Subject Pronoun

We use “who” to ask which person does an action or which person is a certain way.

Example: Who is available tomorrow? (Someone is available tomorrow)


2) Illustration: “Whom” is an Object Pronoun

“Whom” is an object pronoun for “him,” “her” and “us.” We use “whom” to ask which person receives an action.

Example: Whom do you love the most? ( Someone, I love the most)


3) Illustration: “Whose” is a Possessive Pronoun

“Whose” is a possessive pronoun like “his,” “her” and “our.” We use “whose” to find out which person something belongs to.

Example: Whose is this mobile number? (Someone’s is this mobile number)


4) Illustration: What and Which as Subject and Object Pronouns

“What” is used to ask any information or to know the types. “What” takes as subject for the pronouns “it” and “they” and as object for the pronouns “it” and “them”.


  • What is the feature of the product? (An information)
  • What is an oak? Is it a tree or a plant? (information and type)
  • What makes your day? (Something makes my day)


5) Which

We use which when we ask for specific information from a restricted range of possible answers.


  • Which is your address? (a restricted range of possible answers)
  • Which is the oldest language? (Something is the oldest language)


We use relative pronouns after nouns, to make it clear which person or thing we are talking about or to tell us more about person or thing.


  • The man, who came running, is a doctor. (Man>doer>subject)
  • The man, whom you saw running, is a doctor. (Man>receiver of action>object)
  • The man, whose name is highlighted, is a doctor.

Illustration: Use of who, which and that

1) Who

Who implies to the individual person or the individuality of a group.

Example: She is the girl who understands Gujarathi.


2) That

1.That implies a class, type, or species.

Example: She is the kind of girl that we want.

2.That is used after adjectives of superlative degree.

Example: This is the best that we can do

3.That is used after two antecedents, one of which is the name of a person, and the other the name of some animal or thing.

Example: The man and his pet dog that came yesterday have come again today.

4.Use that in place of which or who after such words all, any, none, only, alone, nothing.


  • Man is the only animal that can think.
  • All that glitters is not gold.


3) Which

Which is used when referring to places, objects and animals that we want to describe.

Example: Our annual report, which is long, is now ready.



1) Each other/One another

These are sometimes called ‘reciprocal pronouns.‘ They refer to an action in ‘to and fro’ direction.  Two doers, make use of ‘each other’ and more than two make use of ‘one another’.


  • Two boxers hurt each other.
  • The students hurt one another


2) One/Ones

We use one (singular) and ones (plural) to avoid unnecessary repetition.


  • I asked for a glass, but they didn’t have one.
  • I broke my glasses so I have to buy new ones.


3) Little/Few

/Little/ or /A little/ is used to express or describe uncountable Nouns. And, /Few/ or /A Few/ is for countable Nouns.


  • A little knowledge is required.
  • A few members have come.


4) ‘little’ and ‘a little’

/Little/ and /few/ is used when there are only small units or groups or pieces of noun or person.


  • I have little time to wait for you.

The sentence above describes that there is only small counts of time in minutes (e.g. 3 or 5 minutes left) – Not in Hours. But that will be different when we use the article /a/ in /little/.


  • I have a little time to wait for you.

The sentence means that /I still have much time to …./.

The usage of /few/ and /a few/ are the same as /little/ and /a little/.


5) ‘Some’ and ‘Any’

We use some for talking about a limited number or amount; and we use any for an unlimited number or amount. For example, imagine you are talking about different kinds of cake. All these sentences are possible:

I like any kind of cake. (= all kinds of cake, unlimited)

I like some kinds of cake. (= a limited number of kinds of cake)


6)’Much’ and ‘Many’

We use much and little with uncountable nouns

Much time     much luck     little energy     little money

We use many and few with plural and countable nouns

Many friends     many people       few cars       few countries