The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Pronouns

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns.

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are the most commonly used pronouns.

Example: John baked a cake for Eileen = He baked it for her.

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are personal pronouns that show ownership or possession.

Example: I found John's hat = I found his hat.

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns call attention to their antecedents. An antecedent is the word or words to which a pronoun refers.

Example: The yellow car is his = That is his car.

Reflexive Pronous

Reflexive pronouns reflect the action back to the noun or pronoun that has just been named (ends in -self or -selves).

Example: I will find it myself.

A Helpful Hint

Hint: When a pronoun is used in a sentence, it should always be clear to what or to whom the pronoun is referring. Too many pronouns in a sentence can be very confusing:

Example: He went there to do that, but she didn't know where he was.