Tuesday, 14 September 2021 09:29

Pronouns - Class 8 English Revision Notes

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A pronoun is a part of speech that takes the place of a noun. They include such words as I, we, he, she, thy, me and us.

Pronouns enable you to avoid repeating the same names (nouns), when writing or speaking, which would otherwise make you sound very awkward and wordy. By using pronouns effectively, you can make your writing and speaking flow smoothly.

Pronouns can be classified into 6 types. These are personal, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive and intensive pronouns.

Personal Pronouns

A personal pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or another pronoun. They are used to refer to nouns that name persons or things.

  • Awkward Kamau put on Kamau’s gum boots. Then Kamau went to the shamba.
  • Improved Kamau put on his gum boots. Then he went to the shamba.

In the above example, the personal pronoun his helps the writer avoid repeating the same noun. The pronoun he acts as a bridge to connect the two sentences.

Personal pronouns are further classified in terms of person and gender.


In terms of person, personal pronouns can be divided into three classes.

  1. First person – I, my, me, we, our and us.
    These ones refer to the person(s) speaking.
    Example: I always ride my bike to school.
  2. Second person – you, your, yours
    These refer to the person(s) spoken to.
    Example: I will call you tomorrow.
  3. Third person – he, his, him, she, hers, her, it, its, they, their, them.
    These ones refer to another person(s) or thing(s) that is being spoken of.

The personal pronoun it usually replaces a noun that stands for a thing or an animal. It is never used in place of a person.


Personal pronouns can also be classified by gender. Gender can either be masculine
(referring to male people), feminine (referring to female people) or neuter (referring to
animals or things).

  • Joseph cleaned his car. (His is the third person, masculine gender).
  • Isabel said the dress was hers (Hers is the third person, feminine gender).
  • The dog wagged its tail. (Its is the third person, neuter gender).

Forms of Personal Pronouns

In English, personal pronouns have three forms: the subject form, the object form and the possessive form.


  • She is a painter (subject form)
  • He praised her. (Object form)
  • It is her best painting. (Possessive form)

Subject Pronouns

A subject pronoun takes the place of a noun as the subject of a sentence. These pronouns are:

  1. Singular forms – I, you, he, she, it
  2. Plural forms – we, you, they
    Noun                                                                 Subject Pronoun
    The housegirl takes care of the baby               She takes care of the baby
    The dog guards the house                                It guards the house
    Mark and Francis love swimming                      They love swimming

Subject pronouns also appear after forms of the linking verbs be.

  • The watchman today is he.
  • The composers were they.

Object pronouns

Object pronouns can replace nouns used after action verbs. These pronouns are:

  1. Singular – me, you, him, her, it
  2. Plural – us, you them
    • The driver drove him. (direct object)
    • The parents thanked us. (direct object)
    • The reporters asked him many questions. (indirect object)

In the above examples, the personal pronouns are the direct or indirect objects of the verbs before them.

Object pronouns can also replace nouns after prepositions such as to, for, with, in, at or by. That is, they can be objects of prepositions.

  • Gladys waved to them. (object of a preposition)
  • The delivery is for me.
  • Ben went with them to the theatre.

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun shows ownership.

Example: My pen is black.

There are two kinds of possessive pronouns:

  1. Those used as adjectives to modify nouns. These possessive pronouns are:
    Singular: My, your, his, her, its
    Plural: Our, your, their
    • My shirt is yellow.
    • Your food is on the table.
    • His bag is green.
    • This is her dress.
    • Its fur is soft.
    • These are our parents.
    • Pay your bills.
    • They removed their bats.
      The above possessive pronouns always appear before nouns to modify them. Hence, they are called modifiers.
  2. Those that stand alone and replace nouns in sentences. These possessive nouns are:
    Singular: mine yours his, hers, its
    Plural: ours yours, their
    • The yellow shirt is mine.
    • The food on the table is yours.
    • The green bag is his.
    • This dress is hers.
    • Its is the soft fur.
    • These crops are ours.
    • These bills are yours.
    • Those hats are theirs.

Points To Note

  1. The pronoun I is used as a subject or after forms of the linking verb be.
    Subject: I travel by bus
    After the linking verb be: Yesterday, the prefects on duty were Victor and I
  2. The pronoun me is used object after action verbs or words (prepositions) such as to, for, with, in, or at.
    Object: Rose met me at the gate.
    After prepositions: Rose waited for me at the gate.
                                  You are coming with me.
  3. When using compound subjects and objects (i.e. subjects and objects comprising of a pronoun and a noun or another pronoun), always name yourself last.
    Diana and I visited our grandmother yesterday.
    Who appointed Chege and me?
    Rose waited for her and me at the gate. or at.

Demonstrative Pronouns

A demonstrative pronoun is used to single or point out one or more persons or things referred to in the sentence.
These pronouns are this, that, these, and those.
This and these point to persons or things that are near.

  • This is a gazelle.
  • These are the students of Kianjege West Secondary School.

That and those point to persons or things that are farther away.

  • That is the city square.
  • Those are the lodging rooms.

  • This and that are used with singular nouns.
  • These and those are used with plural nouns.

Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that does not refer to a specific person or thing.
In English, there are singular indefinite pronouns, plural indefinite and both singular and plural indefinite pronouns.

Singular Indefinite Pronouns

another     anything       everybody        neither               one
anybody      each           everyone         nobody           somebody
anymore     either         everything         no one            someone.

An indefinite pronoun must agree with its verbs and in number with its possessive
pronoun. The above indefinite pronouns are used with singular verbs. They are also used
with singular possessive pronouns.

Agreement with verbs
Correct: Everyone has heard of Lake Turkana.
Incorrect: Everyone have heard of Lake Turkana.
Correct: Nobody knows what happened to Samuel Wanjiru.
Incorrect: Nobody know what happened to Samuel Wanjiru.
Correct: Everything about the old man remains a mystery.
Incorrect: Everything about the old man remain a mystery.

Agreement in number with possessive pronouns
Correct: Neither believed his/her eyes.
Incorrect: Neither believed their eyes.
Correct: Each strained his/her neck to see.
Incorrect: Each strained their neck to see.

Plural indefinite pronouns

both          many           few              several
These indefinite pronouns use plural verbs and possessive pronouns.
Plural verbs
Correct: Few know about Lake Olbolsat.
Incorrect: Few knows about Lake Obolsat.
Correct: Both stand by what they believe.
Incorrect: Both stands by what they believe.

Plural possessive pronouns
Correct: Several reported their findings.
Incorrect: Several reported his/her findings.

Both singular and plural indefinite pronouns

all         some         any             none
These indefinite pronouns may be singular or plural, depending on their meaning in the
All of my story is true – singular
All of the guests are here – plural
None of the lake is foggy – singular
None of the photos are spoiled – plural.

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive and intensive pronouns end in -self or -selves. These are myself, yourself, herself, himself, itself, ourselves, and themselves.

A reflexive pronoun refers to an action performed by the subject of the sentence. The meaning of the sentence is incomplete without the reflexive pronoun.

  • Monicah bought herself a new dress. (The meaning of the sentence is incomplete without the reflexive pronoun because we do not know for whom Monicah bought the dress).

Interrogative Pronouns

An interrogative pronoun is used to ask a question. These pronouns are who, whose, whom, which and what.
Who is the mayor of this town?
Whose is the red car?
Which is her blouse?
What did she ask you?
Whom should I trust with my secret?

Using Who, Whom, and Whose

Who, whom, and whose are often used to ask questions. Hence, they are interrogative pronouns.

WHO is the subject form. It is used as the subject of a verb.
Who taught you how to play the guitar? (Who is the subject of the verb taught.)

WHOM is the object form. It is used as the direct object of a verb or as the object of a preposition.
Whom did you meet? (Whom is the object of the verb did meet).
For whom is this trophy? (whom is the object of the preposition for).

WHOSE is the possessive form. It can be used :

  1. To modify a noun
    Whose is umbrella is this? (whose modifies the noun umbrella)
  2. Alone as the subject or object of a verb
    Whose are those water melons? (whose is the subject of the verb are)
    Whose did you admire? (whose is the object of the verb did admire)
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