Pronoun

Pronoun : English Grammar

Definition : Pronouns are words that are used in place of nouns in a sentence. The noun being replaced is known as the antecedent of the pronoun.
Using pronouns
We commonly use pronouns in speech and writing to avoid sounding unnatural
and repetitive by reusing the same noun in a sentence multiple times. Take, for
example, the following sentence:
• “John said that John wants to use the computer that belongs to John.”
The sentence is awkward because John is repeated so many times. Instead, we
can use personal pronouns to stand in for the name of the antecedent to make the
sentence sound more natural, as in:
• “John said that he wants to use the computer that belongs to him.”
In addition to making the sentence sound better, the pronouns provide specific
information, telling us that John is in the third person. If the sentence were in the
first person, it would read:
• “I said that I want to use the computer that belongs to me.”
(We never use our own names when we talk about what we’re doing in the first
person, so we use the personal pronoun I instead of an antecedent.)
As we can see in the examples above, the pronouns are all serving the same
function as nouns. They can be the subject of a sentence or clause, the object of a
verb, or they can follow linking verbs to rename or re-identify the subject
(known as a subject complement).

The Subject : The subject in a sentence or clause is the person or thing doing, performing, or controlling the action of the verb.
For example:

• “The dog chased its tail.” (The noun dog is performing the action of the verb chase.)

• “Mary reads a book every week.” (The proper noun Mary is performing the action of the verb read.)

Objects : Grammatical objects have three grammatical roles: the direct object of a verb, the indirect object of a verb, or the object of a preposition.

Direct objects : Direct objects are what receive the action of the verb in a sentence or clause.

For example:
• “The dog chased its tail.” (The noun tail is receiving the action of the verb chase.)

• “Mary reads a book every week.” (The noun book is receiving the action of the verb read.)

Indirect objects : An indirect object is the person or thing who receives the direct object of the verb. For instance:

• “Please pass Jeremy the salt.” (The proper noun Jeremy is receiving the direct object salt, which receives the action of the verb pass.)

• “I sent the company an application for the job.” (The noun company is receiving the direct object application, which receives the action of the verb sent.)

Objects of prepositions : Nouns are also used after prepositions to create prepositional phrases. When a noun is part of a prepositional phrase, it is known as the object of the preposition. For example:

• “Your backpack is under the table.” (The noun table is the object of the preposition under, which creates the prepositional phrase under the table.)

• “I am looking for work.” (The noun work is the object of the preposition for, which creates the prepositional phrase for work.)

Predicate Nouns : Nouns that follow linking verbs are known as predicate nouns (sometimes known as predicative nouns). These serve to rename or re-identify the subject. If the noun is accompanied by any direct modifiers (such as articles, adjectives, or prepositional phrases), the entire noun phrase acts predicatively.
For example:
• “Love is a virtue.” (The noun phrase a virtue follows the linking verb is to
rename the subject love.)
• “Tommy seems like a real bully.” (The noun phrase a real bully follows the
linking verb seems to rename the subject Tommy.)
• “Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.” (The noun phrase a blessing in disguise
follows the linking verb is to rename the subject this.)
(Go to the section on Subject Complements in the part of the guide that covers
Syntax to learn more about predicate nouns.)