Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grammatical Terms: Nouns and Pronouns, Subjectively Speaking

Nouns and Pronouns are perhaps the easiest terms in the English language. Despite that classic comedic line which has been used in skits, by comedians for many years now. "A Pronoun is not a Noun That has given up it's amateur status."

Nouns are usually given as the names of any person, place or thing. Which is pretty much,  just that, everything.  So easy and very simple! But now to the noun's shadow, the 'Pronoun!"


The Pronoun is a word which takes the place of the noun it refers back to. Mike is the noun that I will use to illustrate the point to show this example.

Mike is the name of the creator of this site. He is the one Also Known As the Professor. 

Mike is the noun and He is the pronoun referring back to the noun Mike.

Mike has many friends. His friends are those people who like what he writes and comment on his writings. 

 Mike and Friends are the Nouns , His, He and Who are the Pronouns . Once again the  pronouns are referring to the nouns they are replacing.

How are they replacing the nouns you ask? Simple actually.  If we were to use only nouns here is what the sentence would look like.

Mike has many friends. Mike's  friends are those of Mike's friends liking what Mike writes and comment on Mike's writings. 

The use of these pronouns improves both the look and flow of the sentence. These words help the reader understand, who it is being talked about, without having to reuse their names, over and over again.

The same can be done with the female versions as used in this simple illustration.

Mary has many friends. Her friends are those people who like what she writes and comment on her  writings.

Just as with the with the male pronouns, the female ones are used in the same manner.

Mary and Friends are the Nouns , Her, She and Who are the Pronouns. Once again these pronouns are referring to the nouns they are replacing.
Gender is neutral when more than one is the subject used which is also called pluralization. 
The same method still applies however just the pronouns change to their pluralized versions
Mary and Mike have many friends. Their friends are those people who like what they write and comment on their writings.


Mary,Mike and Friends are the Nouns, Their, They and Who are the Pronouns. Once again the  pronouns are referring to the nouns they are replacing. 

The pronouns replace the noun and allow the readers to follow along without getting confused. This is done so the writer relating the story is telling them about the characters. They then can follow the story line  without the names of those characters  having to be used, all the time.

A Pronoun can replace a noun directly as in I, me, you, he, she, it, them, our and who.

These are called Personal Pronouns

Pronouns are also used to show possession like my, mine, hers, his, its, their, theirs, ours, yours, whose, these and those. 

These are called Possessive Pronouns 
There are two forms of possessive Pronoun 
The Short Form consist of :                              The Long  Form consists of:               
   Person        Singular      Plural                       Person        Singular      Plural  
     1st                my               our                        1st             mine               our        
     2nd              your            your                        2nd            your              your
     3rd            hers his its     theirs                       3rd        hers his its         theirs
    Questioning    whose         whose 

Like many things about the English language, this is a bit archaic, but needs to be known if writing Accuracy is your goal.  I know what your thinking!  And Yes you're right! The forms differ only in the 1st person. but  I said it should be fun , I never promised that it would be simply.


 Incidentally Never ever use 'S with who, only whose is the correct usage with this pronoun.



The Pronoun who is very unique, being in a class all on it's own. This much misused pronoun is to be used only as the Subject of the sentence. Whom is the only proper word to use if it is the object of the verb or preposition. I'll illustrate below for you to see!



example  1) Who hit the ball? 


Here who is the subject of this questioning sentence .


                2) For whom did the bell toll? 


Here whom is the object of the verb did as in the Bell did toll for Whom!





Now look at this incorrect usage and you will see the error very easily!


Wrong     Who would you say is best for the job?
Right     Whom would you say is best for the job?

The easiest way to clear up any confusion is to use the substitution method. When unsure simply replace the who with he and whom with him. If the sentence works with "he" then use "who!" If the sentence works best with "him" then it will be "whom" that is the right choice for you.
The relative pronouns are those that are used to join subordinate clauses to main ones. 
The pronouns that, which,who,whom and whose are the members of this group. They are used as follows . Who, whom and whose are used for persons, while that and which are used for things. 

These examples will help illustrate these points. 
The river, which is fed by the mountain spring, is clean and clear to drink from.
This is the beautiful antique rocking chair that I bid on at the auction.

The rules to keep in mind here are as follows:
 1)  If your  usage is Informal then a relative pronoun is your choice if it follows  a subject. If your usage is Formal then it is mandatory to be used.
example: Informal : This is the present  I received from my parents.
                 Formal : This is the present that I received from my parents.
2) Where no subject is being followed, then s relative pronoun must be used.
example: Mario is a boy who loves to eat spaghetti.
3) It a comma precedes it, a relative pronoun is mandatory! 
example: Nikhil ,who studies hard, is an excellent student.
4) The possessive pronoun Whose cannot be left out!
example:  Jacques is a strong skater whose goal is to play hockey for the Montreal Canadiens.

Pronouns can also be Contractions :
When joining a pronoun with a verb ,the result becomes a combination of the two called a pronoun contraction .

Here are you Contractions:  
 Pronoun     Verb            Contractions 
   I                 will                  I'll
  It                  is                   it's 
  they             are                 they're   

Demonstrative Pronouns:  The  pronouns that point out or demonstrate something are called Demonstrative Pronouns; The "Antecendent" is something that the pronoun points or refers back to.

In the following illustration the antecedent is the top model automobile. 
Just imagine that you are the owner of a "new  jet black Porche 911 Turbo" . You have just driven it to impress the lady who you have just met. She has never seen it before and when you pull up, you exit this vehicle and say "This is my car."

"This" the pronoun, is replacing the antecedent "new jet black Porche 911 Turbo" and thus demonstrates or points to the subject that is understood by all present.

Rule: The antecedent and pronoun always must be the same case and person every time they are used. There are no exceptions! Ever!   

Singular demonstrative pronouns are that & this.  
Plural versions are these & those.


Indefinite Pronouns are ones which have not specific reference to persons places or things. Another branch of this family is dealing with amounts. The pronouns, excluding amounts, in this category are any, anybody, anyone, each, either, everyone, everything, no one, someone and something.









The Pronouns dealing with Amounts are as follows all, any, both, few, fewer, half, little, many, most, none, and several.






The Reflexive Pronouns deal with actions reflecting back to either the nouns or pronouns directly named. these are the following pronouns myself, herself himself and yourself , for singular use. The plural ones are ourselves themselves and yourselves. 








Reflexive may also be intensive pronouns when used as in the following example I, Myself
or Exception to:  Myself, I'd need to see it to be sure! Words commonly misused are hisself,




theirself and themself. These are not acceptable, ever!



Interrogative Pronouns  introduce noun clauses and questioning sentences! These are who, what and which. These are very self explanatory when one looks at their usage.





While other forms may exist these cover the major uses and will suffice for this exercise. However should anyone wish to pursue it further please contact me and we can add to this piece! So thank you for reading and comments are welcomed. ;D






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