A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun; as, “John gave his pen to James and he lent it to Jane to write her copy with it.” Without the pronouns we would have to write this sentence,–"John gave John’s pen to James and James lent the pen to Jane to write Jane’s copy with the pen.”
There are three kinds of pronouns–Personal, Relative and Adjective Pronouns.
Personal Pronouns are so called because they are used instead of the names of persons, places and things. The Personal Pronouns are I, Thou, He, She, and It, with their plurals, We, Ye or Youand They.
I is the pronoun of the first person because it represents the person speaking.
Thou is the pronoun of the second person because it represents the person spoken to.
He, She, It are the pronouns of the third person because they represent the persons or things of whom we are speaking.
Like nouns, the Personal Pronouns have number, gender and case. The gender of the first and second person is obvious, as they represent the person or persons speaking and those who are addressed. The personal pronouns are thus declined:
M. or F.
N. I We
P. Mine Ours
O. Me Us
M. or F.
N. Thou You
P. Thine Yours
O. Thee You
N. He They
P. His Theirs
O. Him Them
N. She They
P. Hers Theirs
O. Her Them
N. It They
P. Its Theirs
O. It Them
N. B.–In colloquial language and ordinary writing Thou, Thine and Thee are seldom used, except by the Society of Friends. The Plural form You is used for both the nominative and objective singular in the second person and Yours is generally used in the possessive in place of Thine.
The Relative Pronouns are so called because they relate to some word or phrase going before; as, “The boy who told the truth;” “He has done well, which gives me great pleasure.”
Here who and which are not only used in place of other words, but who refers immediately to boy, and which to the circumstance of his having done well.
The word or clause to which a relative pronoun refers is called the Antecedent.
The Relative Pronouns are who, which, that and what.
Who is applied to persons only; as, “The man who was here.”
Which is applied to the lower animals and things without life; as, “The horse which I sold.” “The hat which I bought.”
That is applied to both persons and things; as, “The friend thathelps.” “The bird that sings.” “The knife that cuts.”
What is a compound relative, including both the antecedent and the relative and is equivalent to that which; as, “I did what he desired," i. e. “I did that which he desired.”
Relative pronouns have the singular and plural alike.
Who is either masculine or feminine; which and that are masculine, feminine or neuter; what as a relative pronoun is always neuter.
That and what are not inflected.
Who and which are thus declined:
Sing. and Plural Sing. and Plural
N. Who N. Which
P. Whose P. Whose
O. Whom O. Which
Who, which and what when used to ask questions are called Interrogative Pronouns.
Adjective Pronouns partake of the nature of adjectives and pronouns and are subdivided as follows:
Demonstrative Adjective Pronouns which directly point out the person or object. They are this, that with their plurals these, those, and yon, same and selfsame.
Distributive Adjective Pronouns used distributively. They are each, every, either, neither.
Indefinite Adjective Pronouns used more or less indefinitely. They are any, all, few, some, several, one, other, another, none.
Possessive Adjective Pronouns denoting possession. They are my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, their.
N. B.–(The possessive adjective pronouns differ from the possessive case of the personal pronouns in that the latter can stand alone while the former cannot. “Who owns that book?” “It is mine.” You cannot say “it is my,"–the word book must be repeated.)