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This article is about the part of speech, with a focus on English. For other uses, see Pronoun (disambiguation). For pronouns in other languages, go to the "See also" section of this entry.


  • I love you.

  • That reminds me of something.

  • He looked at them.

  • Take it or leave it.

  • Who would say such a thing?

In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (abbreviated pro) is a word that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase. It is a particular case of a pro-form.

Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the parts of speech, but some modern theorists would not consider them to form a single class, in view of the variety of functions they perform cross-linguistically. An example of a pronoun is "you", which is both plural and singular. Subtypes include personal and possessive pronounsreflexive and reciprocal pronouns, demonstrative pronounsrelative and interrogative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns.[1]:1–34[2]

The use of pronouns often involves anaphora, where the meaning of the pronoun is dependent on an antecedent. For example, in the sentence That poor man looks as if he needs a new coat, the antecedent of the pronoun he is dependent on that poor man.

The adjective associated with "pronoun" is "pronominal".[A] A pronominal is also a word or phrase that acts as a pronoun. For example, in That's not the one I wanted, the phrase the one (containing the prop-word one) is a pronominal.[3]


  • 1Theoretical considerations

    • 1.1In grammar

    • 1.2In linguistics

      • 1.2.1Binding theory and antecedents

        • cross-linguistically


  • 2English pronouns

    • 2.1Overview

    • 2.2Personal and possessive

      • 2.2.1Personal

      • 2.2.2Possessive

    • 2.3Reflexive and reciprocal

    • 2.4Demonstrative

    • 2.5Indefinite

    • 2.6Relative and interrogative

      • 2.6.1Relative

      • 2.6.2Interrogative

    • 2.7Archaic forms

    • 2.8Kinship

    • 2.9Special uses

  • 3See also

    • 3.1General

    • 3.2Personal pronouns in various languages

      • 3.2.1In English

      • 3.2.2In other languages

  • 4Notes

  • 5References

  • 6Further reading

  • 7External links

Theoretical considerations[edit]

In grammar[edit]

Pronouns (antōnymía) are listed as one of eight parts of speech in The Art of Grammar, a treatise on Greek grammar attributed to Dionysius Thrax and dating from the 2nd century BC. The pronoun is described there as "a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for a person." Pronouns continued to be regarded as a part of speech in Latin grammar (the Latin term being pronomen, from which the English name – through Middle French – ultimately derives), and thus in the European tradition generally.

In more modern approaches, pronouns are less likely to be considered to be a single word class, because of the many different syntactic roles that they play, as represented by the various different types of pronouns listed in the previous sections.[4]

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