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Personal, Possessive, Indefinite, Oh My! A List of Pronouns
Pronouns are a crucial component to writing in a clear, concise, and interesting style. There are many words that can function in this capacity, including several that also fulfill the functions of other parts of speech. In this article, we’ll go over several categories of the potential pronouns list and discuss how each can be used. Specifically, this guide will cover the indefinite, gender neutral, personal pronouns, and interrogative pronouns list. You’ll want to take notes in order to create your own list of pronouns to refer back to.
This Time It’s Personal!: Personal Pronouns List
The most common subcategory, and the one you probably think of first when you consider this category of words, is the personal category. Every word on the list of personal specifically identify or replace a previously stated noun that names a person or, sometimes, a place, object, or concept.
Let’s lay out our first pronoun list and talk about the ways we can differentiate between the words that belong to a personal pronouns list.
Making a List, Checking It Twice: List of Pronouns
Before we can discuss this list, we have to know which words are included. Below is a complete personal pronouns list:
Make Your Case: Personal Pronouns List
We can separate the above list of pronouns into two categories: subject and object.
Subject Pronoun List
Object Pronoun List
What’s the difference between each personal pronouns list?
The difference is a grammatical concept called case, which essentially denotes what function a noun can serve in a sentence and how it relates to the other words that surround it. The first pronoun list consists of nouns that can be used as the subjects of sentences.
- I went to the store.
- They cooked dinner for the whole family.
The second pronouns list, in contrast, contains words that cannot serve as subjects that perform some action, but rather as objects that are acted upon.
- Lucy gave the book to him.
- Christopher asked them to complete the task.
Both lists include words that replace an antecedent that has previously been identified (him or them in the above two sentences presumably refer back to something in a previous sentence) alongside words that are the only way to refer to someone (I and you).
Along with subject and object pronouns, any list of personal pronouns must also include possessive pronouns. These pronouns communicate ownership or ‘possession’.
- That’s my charger you’re grabbing.
- Their groceries are on the counter.
- Let’s use hers.
In the first sentence, my indicates that the speaker owns the charger. In the second sentence, their indicates that the groceries belong to another gro.up. In the third sentence, hers tells us that an unnamed item belongs to a woman. In all of these sentences, the pronoun helps tell the reader/us who owns what. Below is a list of personal pronouns that are all possessive.
Possessive Pronoun List
Each list of personal pronouns probably has words you’ve seen before. Are there any you don’t recognize? If yes, start your own pronouns list of new words. Look each word up and find a sentence that uses it. Then, create your own sentence using that word.
Every personal pronouns list above was helpful to know, but it’s only the beginning. Do you know what else falls under the pronouns list umbrella? Let’s continue on and look at a gender neutral pronouns list.
His, Hers, and Theirs: Gender Neutral Pronouns List
If you look at any personal pronouns list in the section above, you’ll probably notice intuitively that some specify the gender of the noun they refer to, while others do not. Let’s start with a pronouns list of the examples that specify gender:
- He (male)
- Him (male)
- She (female)
- Her (female)
Other variations on a pronouns list can include possessives such as hers or his.
In contrast, we have a gender neutral pronouns list below, which has words that don’t readily indicate a gender. The English language is always evolving and gender neutral pronouns list may grow and change over time.
- You (singular and plural)
In English, plural pronouns are part of the gender neutral pronouns list because they do not differentiate if the group is composed of only one gender or of more than one. I and you do not specify gender, since they directly address someone. It is the singular neutral, but in English, it is considered rude to use it to refer to a person. The singular they for these situations has existed in English since the 14th century and has returned to popular usage in recent years (and is a part of the gender neutral pronouns list).
A note on the “person” part of the above pronoun list: person, in a grammatical context, does not have to signify a human being. It is also a grammatical concept that separates nouns and verbs into three categories:
- First person, which refers to the speaker (I or we)
- Second person, which refers to someone directly addressed (you)
- Third person, which identifies any other being (he, she, it, they)
Person is one of several grammatical concepts that need to be mastered for excellent writing.
Along with each list of pronouns, it’s also important to master common writing and citation styles, including MLA format and APA format. There are also several more styles that you may encounter in your classes or professional work, and it’s always a good idea to run your work through a essay checker! Our tools are at your disposal.
The Future Is Indefinite: Indefinite Pronouns List
One of the largest categories we’ll look at is indefinites. To start, here’s an indefinite pronouns list (fair warning, it’s long):
Indefinite Pronoun List
- no one/nobody
We use these in a wide variety of situations, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t specifically identify a person, place, thing, or idea, but instead tend to draw attention to that very same lack of specificity.
- The spy could be anyone.
- Whoever wins the game will get a huge prize.
Using one of these words (from the indefinite pronouns list) indicates a lack of certainty about who or what, specifically, is doing the action. In the first sentence, we are told that every person in the scene might be the spy, even though only one of them actually is. In the second, the winner of the game has not yet been determined, so the possibilities are multiple.
These words (from the indefinite pronouns list) can also be used to point out that all or none of a group are included in the action.
- Everything in the building is falling apart.
- Nothing can change the facts.
Here, we can see how some members of the list of pronouns can be used in either concrete or abstract ways. The first sentence includes a prepositional phrase (in the building) to place a concrete limit on everything—we understand that everything here defines the group of things that are in the building. The second, however, uses nothing as an abstraction to denote a complete absence of possibilities.
Did you already know many of the words on the indefinite pronouns list? Though long, this list of pronouns is not yet the end of our pronouns journey. The next section will cover a pronoun list that is often mixed up with the indefinite: the interrogative pronouns list.
Questions Only: Interrogative Pronouns List
One more major group is the interrogative category, which are, as you might expect, used to ask questions. The interrogative pronouns list is as follows:
Interrogative Pronouns List
All the words on this interrogative pronouns list are very broad (and strangely begin with the letter W. Although these words have a double function as interrogators around which questions are built, they also can function as more typical nouns. Interrogative pronouns include words such as these:
- Whatever they want to do is fine with me.
- Do you know whom to ask about tickets?
In some ways, they function similarly to the indefinites we looked at in the previous pronouns list in that they are often used to indicate uncertainty or possibilities that have not yet been determined.
Now that you’ve studied a list of personal pronouns, a gender neutral pronouns list, an indefinite pronouns list, and a list of pronouns that are interrogative, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! Complete each question or instruction below.
- What is a personal pronoun? Write a short definition.
- Create 3 sentences using words from the list of personal pronouns from above.
- Under the personal pronouns list, there is a gender category. Define the gender category and use an example from the above to craft a sentence.
- Name 3 gender neutral pronouns.
- Describe what an indefinite is.
- Create 3 sentences using words from the indefinite pronouns list.
- Without looking at the list, name 4 examples of interrogative pronouns.
Using pronouns can make your writing clear and keep it from feeling repetitive or stale. We hope every list of pronouns has given you plenty of examples with which to use. For more details, try this additional reference.
Published March 6th, 2019. Updated April 30th, 2020.
By Amanda Prahl. Amanda earned her MFA from Arizona State University. She is a freelance writer, university instructor, and playwright/lyricist, with strong opinions about show tunes, Jane Austen heroines, and the Oxford comma.
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