Pronouns: 8 Most Important Rules With Examples

The topic, ‘pronouns’ is common through all entrance exams be it banking or MBA. It is one of the very important topics in the verbal ability section, especially in the sentence correction type questions.

In this post, we list down the most important rules, explained with examples. These will not only aid your preparation but will also come in handy at the time of revision.

Before we list down the rules, here’s a snapshot of what pronouns are:-

PRONOUNS:  These are the words used in place of a noun to avoid repetition. These are further categorized as:

Person Singular Plural
First Person I We
Second Person You You
Third Person He, She, It They

Also, pronouns take various forms and these are as follows:

Nominative Case
(Subject)
Accusative Case
(Object)
Possessive
Pronouns
I Me Mine
We Us Ours
You You Yours
He Him His
She Her Hers
It It Its
They Them Theirs

The important rules are as follows:

1. When a pronoun refers to a noun already stated in the sentence, the replaced noun is called antecedent. The pronoun should be placed close to its antecedent and must agree with it in gender and number.

Example

The teacher chose those students because they had scored the highest marks.

Here, the noun (antecedent) ‘students’ is later replaced by ‘they’, which is a pronoun. It is placed close to the noun and agrees with it in both number and gender. 

2. Collective nouns such as group, committee, and family, use either a singular OR plural pronoun depending on whether the writer is referring to the group as a single unit OR to the individual members of the group. 

Example:

The committee made its decision based on several reports. (as a single unit) singular pronoun

The committee put their signatures on the new report.  (as individual members) plural pronoun

3. When used as subjects, non-countable pronouns such as any, anybody, anyone, each, either, enough, everybody, everyone, few, little, many, much, neither, nobody, some, somebody, someone etc., take singular pronouns.

Examples:

Neither is going to the concert, so he or she needs to give the tickets away. (singular pronoun)

Someone needs to take the garbage out, but nobody volunteers to do the same. (singular pronoun)

4.  If the pronoun appears before the main verb, then it takes the subjective case (I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who). If the pronoun appears after the main verb, then it takes the objective case (me, you, him, her, it, us, them, who, whom).

Example:

He told Susan that the food was not very good.  (The pronoun comes before the main verb ‘told’ – Subjective)

Susan told him that the food was not very good. (The pronoun comes after the main verb ‘told’ – Objective)

5. To appropriately use ‘who’ and ‘whom’, first determine if the what is it referring to. If it refers to the subject, the pronoun will be ‘who’. For objects, use whom.

Example:

Who cooked this delicious dish? (reference is made to the subject, hence ‘who’ is used)

Sara invited whom for dinner? (reference is made to the object, hence ‘whom’ is used)

6. Never use apostrophes with possessive pronouns.

Example:

Cathy took her’s dog for a walk. (WRONG)

Cathy took her dog for a walk. (RIGHT)

7. Proper usage of reciprocal pronouns. ‘Each other’ is used for two people. ‘One another’ is used when there are more than two people involved.

Example:

People in this society love one another

The siblings love each other.

8. The indefinite pronoun ‘one’ should be changed to “one’s” in the possessive case.

Example:

One should love one’s country. (Correct)

One should love their country. (Incorrect)

 

Hope this helps you in your preparation.

All the best!!