Our lesson in this section will look in depth at the part of speech ‘Pronoun’. I bet it, it is one of the areas students get confused most. As simple as “he, it, me, I,” etc seem, they can pose as stumbling blocks to your academic progress if not handled with correct knowledge.

At this juncture, I need to let you know that the fact that you are used to an expression doesn’t make it correct. Hence, follow this lesson with an open mind as it will do you a world of good.

What is a pronoun?

Pronoun! Very easy to define. A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, noun phrase or noun clause.  It therefore means that a pronoun can effectively replace a noun.

E.g: Emeka lost his pen.  

The underlined are a noun and a noun phrase. They can be replaced with pronouns:

Here: He lost it.

Before we continue, let’s get familiar with some of the pronouns we have in English language: 

I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us them, your, our, his, its, her, mine, their, myself, yourself, himself, herself, ourselves, themselves, who, which, that, whom, whose, where, why, what, this, that, nothing something, any, each, every, plenty, everybody, anybody, somebody etc.

Interestingly, different pronouns can be used to replace the same noun when the latter functions differently. The pronoun that will replace a noun in the subject position is different from the one that will replace the same noun in object position.

For instance:

  • Kunle saw the lion.

Kunle is the subject. So, we have ‘he’ replacing Kunle: He saw the lion.

In ‘The lion saw Kunle’, Kunle is the object.

It will be very ungrammatical to say, ‘the lion saw he’.

So, ‘him’ will replace Kunle here.

The lion saw him.

The same Kunle but different functions and different personal pronouns. Often times, candidates don’t know when a pronoun is replacing a noun in the subject or object position. So, you hear wrong expressions like:

*It was thrown between you and I.

*To we the students, exam success is do-or-die.

*On behalf of myself and family, I….

When pronouns behave like this that is, changing forms due to functions, we will call it case. We’ll look at different cases in the next couple of lessons.

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