Nouns and Pronouns

Read this text about nouns and pronouns. 


A noun is a part of speech. It names or identifies four things: 

  • people
  • places
  • things
  • ideas 

Nouns can be categorized in many ways. 

  • They may be singular (like "son") or plural (like "sons"). This is called number.
  • They may be common (like "house") or proper (like "Thomas Smith"). All nouns that are not proper are common.
  • They may be concrete (like "street") or abstract (like "love"). All nouns that are not concrete are abstract.
  • They may be count (like "piece"), non-count or mass (like "information") or collective (like "group"). This is called countability.
  • Some nouns may be masculine (like "postman") or feminine (like "stewardess"), but most nouns do not have gender. Nouns that are masculine or feminine are said to have noun gender.

You may learn about these aspects of nouns or go to the next section about pronouns.

There are five properties of a noun or a noun phrase or noun clause:
  • A noun can be the subject of a finite verb. 

The boy threw the ball. - here "boy" is a Noun, acting as the subject to the verb "threw". 

  • A noun can be the object of a transitive verb. 

He ate his food. - here "food" is a Noun, object of the verb "ate".

  • A noun can be the object of a preposition. 

He dived into the pool. - here "pool" is a Noun, acting as the Object of the preposition "into" 

  • A noun can be the complement of a verb of incomplete predication.

He is a good man. - here "man", a Noun is the Complement to the verb of incomplete predication "is".

  • A noun can be used in Apposition to a noun or pronoun.

It is funny that he said that to her. - Here, the Noun clause "that he said that to her" is used in Apposition to the pronoun "It" in the Main Clause.


A pronoun is traditionally a part of speech in grammar, but many modern linguists call it a type of noun. In English, pronouns are words such as me, she, his, them, herself, each other, it, what. Pronouns are often used to take the place of a noun, to avoid repeating the noun. For example, instead of saying: 

  • Tom has a new dog. Tom has named the dog Max and Tom lets the dog sleep by Tom's bed.

it is easier to say: 

  • Tom has a new dog. He has named it Max and he lets it sleep by his bed. 

When a pronoun replaces a noun, the noun is called the antecedent. For example, in the sentence:The dog that was walking down the street, the relative pronoun is the word that referring back to the antecedent, the word 'dog'. In the sentence The spy who loved me, the relative pronoun is the word 'who' and its antecedent is the word 'spy'.

>Differences and similarities to nouns

Pronouns are different from common nouns because pronouns normally do not come after articles or other determiners. For example, people do not say "the it". Pronouns rarely come after adjectives. They are also different because many of them change depending on how they are used. For example, "we" is a 'subject' in grammar, but the word changes to us when used as an object. Pronouns are the same as nouns because they both change for number (singular & plural), case (subject, object, possessive, etc.), and gender (male, female, animate, inanimate, etc.) Nouns and pronouns can be used in almost all the same places in sentences, and they name the same kinds of things: people, objects, etc. Even though they can not normally come after determiners, or adjectives, neither can proper nouns.

Kinds of pronouns

There are four kinds of pronouns: personal, reciprocal, interrogative, and relative.

PERSONAL Your sister loves herself
RECIPROCAL we are looking at one another
INTERROGATIVE what happened?
RELATIVE the time which you told me


The tables below show all the personal pronouns in English that are commonly used today.


Subject Object Possessive
First I me mine
Second you you yours
Feminine she her hers
Masculine he him his
Neuter it it its


  Subject Object Possessive
First we us ours
Second you you yours
Feminine they them theirs
Masculine they them theirs
Neuter they them theirs

A subject pronoun can replace a noun that is the subject of a sentence. Refer to the table above; the subject pronouns are: IYouHeSheItWeThey

Another type of personal pronoun is called the 'reflexive pronoun'. Reflexive pronouns are the words ending in '-self' or '-selves', such as: myself, itself, themselves.


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Last modified: Monday, August 30, 2021, 8:27 AM