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Pronouns are those short labels that allow you to re-identify a person or thing efficiently, without having to use the original name of the person or thing repeatedly. Using them effectively takes a bit of practice, however, in order to avoid common problems. This handout will give a brief overview of pronouns and of common problems associated with their use, along with a practice activity.

This is a comprehensive list of English pronouns, divided into three categories:

  • Pronouns as sentence subjects: I, you, he, she, it, we, they, who.
  • Pronouns as sentence objects: me, you, him, her, it, us, them, whom.
  • Pronouns of possession: my (mine), your (yours), his, her (hers), it (its), our (ours), their (theirs), whose

In addition to simply standing in for nouns, a number of pronouns—that, who, whom, whose, which, where, when, why—can be used to build larger sentences out of smaller ones:

  • Sanita is the district manager for Wholesome Foods. She will arrive at 9:30 tomorrow morning.
  • Sanita, who is the district manager for Wholesome Foods, will arrive at 9:30 tomorrow morning.