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Encyclopedia > Personal pronoun
Examples
  • He shook her hand.
  • Why do you always rely on me to do your homework for you?
  • They tried to run away from the hunter, but he set his dogs after them.

Personal pronouns are pronouns often used as substitutes for proper or common nouns. In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun phrase. ... A noun, or noun substantive, is a word or phrase that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality. ...

Contents

Usage

In English, it is usual to use personal pronouns when the context is already understood, or could easily be understood by reading the sentences that follow. For example, one does not normally use the word "he" to refer to somebody if the person reading or hearing the sentence does not know to whom one is referring.


In addition, personal pronouns must correspond to the correct gender and number of people or objects being described. Using the word "it" in English to refer to a person, for example, is usually considered extremely derogatory. It is generally not accepted to use a singular version of a pronoun for a plural noun, and vice versa. An exception is the informal, spoken use of they to refer to one person when sex is unknown: "If somebody took my book, they'd better give it back". In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ...


In general, pronouns are used often, since too little of their usage can make a sentence very difficult to read.


In French, pronouns include je, nous, tu, vous, ils, elles, lui, toi, moi, etc. There are different pronouns used for different genders and numbers of people, and unlike English where "them" and "they" are used for every object whether it is masculine or feminine, in French the plural forms vary according to gender. In addition, in French, different pronouns are used for indirect objects of a sentence than direct objects. The dative case is a grammatical case for nouns and/or pronouns. ... The accusative case of a noun is, generally, the case used to mark the direct object of a verb. ...


Interlingua pronouns also vary by number and gender: singular io, tu, and ille, for example, correspond with plural nos, vos, and illes. Like French, Interlingua has different pronouns for different genders and numbers. Ille and illes are masculine and general, for example, while illa and illas are feminine. Unlike French, however, verbs remain the same for all pronouns: This article is an informal outline of the grammar of Interlingua, an international auxiliary language first publicized by IALA. It follows the usage of the original grammar text (Gode & Blair, 1951), which is accepted today but regarded as conservative. ... Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL) published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). ...

Illa lege un articulo, she is reading an article
Illas lege articulos, they (feminine) are reading articles

Interlingua has relationships with many language families, and this is reflected in its pronouns. Interlingua io, for example, shows similarities with such word forms as English I, German ich, Italian io, Spanish yo, Russian ya, and Chinese wo.


English personal pronouns

Ordinary English has seven personal pronouns: first-person singular (I), first-person plural (we), second-person (you), third-person singular masculine (he), third-person singular feminine (she), third-person singular neuter (it), and third-person plural (they). Each pronoun has a number of forms: a subjective case form (I/we/etc.), used when it's the subject of a finite verb; an objective case form (me/us/etc.), used when it's the object of verb or of a preposition; two possessive forms (my/our/etc. and mine/ours/etc.), used when it's the possessor of another noun — one that's used as a determiner, and one that's used as a pronoun or a predicate adjective; and a reflexive form (myself/ourselves/etc.), which replaces the objective-case form in referring to the same entity as the subject. That said, the different pronouns, and the different forms of the pronouns, often have overlapping functions. The English personal pronouns are classified as follows: First person refers to the speaker(s). ... Possession, in the context of linguistics, is an asymmetric relationship between two constituents, one of which possesses (owns, rules over, has as a part, has as a relative, etc. ... Determiners are words which quantify or identify nouns. ...


Distinctions made in personal pronouns

Common types of personal pronouns found in the world's languages include:

Pronouns usually show the basic distinctions of person (typically a three-way distinction between first, second, and third persons) and number (typically singular vs. plural), but they may also feature other categories such as case (nominative we vs. objective us in English), gender (masculine he vs. feminine she in English), and animacy or humanness (human who vs. nonhuman what in English). These can of course vary greatly. The English dialect spoken in Dorset uses ee for animates and er for inanimates. The subjective pronouns are pronouns used as the subject of a sentence; in other words, the initiator or instigator of a verb. ... An objective pronoun functions as the target of a verb, as distinguished from a subjective pronoun, which is the initiator of a verb. ... An object in grammar is a sentence element and part of the sentence predicate. ... In some languages, there is a difference between reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns. ... A prepositional pronoun is a special form of a personal pronoun that is used as the object of a preposition. ... A disjunctive pronoun is a stressed form of a pronoun reserved for use in isolation or in certain syntactic contexts. ... A possessive pronoun is a part of speech that attributes ownership to someone or something. ... Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to the participant role of a referent, such as the speaker, the addressee, and others. ... In linguistics, grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. ... In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is its grammatical function in a greater phrase or clause; such as the role of subject, of direct object, or of possessor. ... The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun, which generally marks the subject of a verb, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. ... An objective pronoun functions as the target of a verb, as distinguished from a subjective pronoun, which is the initiator of a verb. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ... Animacy is a grammatical category, usually of nouns, which influences the form a verb takes when it is associated with that noun. ... Dorset (pronounced DOR-sit or [dɔ.sət], and sometimes in the past called Dorsetshire) is a county in the south-west of England, on the English Channel coast. ...


Some languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns — those that do and do not include their audience, respectively. For example, Tok Pisin has seven first-person pronouns according to number (singular, dual, trial, plural) and inclusiveness/exclusiveness, such as mitripela (they two and I) and yumitripela (you two and I). Inclusive we is a pronoun or verb conjugation that indicates the inclusion of the speaker, the addressee, and perhaps other people, as opposed to exclusive we, which specifically excludes the addressee. ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...


Slavic languages have two different third-person genitive pronouns (one reflexive, one not). For example, in Serbian:  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup... In some languages, there is a difference between reflexive and non-reflexive pronouns. ... Serbian (српски језик; srpski jezik) is one of the standard versions of the Shtokavian dialect, used primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and by Serbs everywhere. ...

"Ana je dala Mariji svoju knjigu" — "Ana gave her-REFLEXIVE book to Maria" — i.e., "Ana gave her own book to Maria."
"Ana je dala Mariji njenu knjigu" — "Ana gave her-NON-REFLEXIVE book to Maria" — i.e., "Ana gave Maria's book to her."

The pronoun may encode politeness and formality. Many languages have different pronouns for informal use or use among friends, and for formal use or use about/towards superiors, especially in the second person. A common pattern is the so-called T-V distinction (named after the use of pronouns beginning in t- and v- in Romance languages, as in French tu and vous). This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages, are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire. ...


It is very common for pronouns to show more grammatical distinctions than nouns. The Romance languages have lost the Latin grammatical case for nouns, but preserve the distinction in the pronouns. The same holds for English with respect to its Germanic ancestor. The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages, are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire. ...


It is also not uncommon for languages not to have third-person pronouns. In those cases the usual way to refer to third persons is by using demonstratives or full noun phrases. Latin made do without third-person pronouns, replacing them with demonstratives (which are in fact the source of third-person pronouns in all Romance languages). // Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference) that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others. ... // Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference) that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others. ...


Some languages, such as Japanese and Korean, lack pronouns entirely. In these languages, instead of pronouns, there is a small set of nouns that refer to the discourse participants (as pronouns do in other languages). These referential nouns are not usually used, with proper nouns, deictics, and titles being used instead. Usually, once the topic is understood, no explicit reference is made at all. In Japanese sentences, subjects are not obligatory, so the speaker chooses which word to use depending on the rank, job, age, gender, etc. of the speaker and the addressee. For instance, in formal situations, adults usually refer to themselves as watashi or the even more polite watakushi, while young men may use the student-like boku and police officers may use honkan ("this officer"). In informal situations, women may use the colloquial atashi, and men may use the rougher ore.


Null-subject and pro-drop languages

Main articles: Pro-drop language and Null subject language

In some languages, a pronoun is required whenever a noun or noun phrase needs to be referenced, and sometimes even when no such antecedent exists (cf the dummy pronoun in English it rains). In many other languages, however, pronouns can be omitted when unnecessary or when context makes it clear who or what is being talked about. Such languages are called null-subject languages (when subject pronouns may be omitted), or pro-drop languages (when, more generally, subject or object pronouns may be omitted). In some cases the information about the antecedent is preserved in the verb, through its conjugation. A pro-drop language (from pronoun-dropping) is a language where pronouns can be deleted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable (the precise conditions vary from language to language, and can be quite intricate). ... A null subject language, in linguistic typology, is a language whose grammar permits a null subject, that is, the omission of an explicit subject in main clauses. ... A dummy pronoun (or more formally expletive pronoun or pleonastic pronoun) is a type of pronoun used in non-pro-drop languages, such as English, when a particular argument of a verb (or preposition) is nonexistent, unknown, irrelevant, already understood, or otherwise not to be spoken of directly, but a... In linguistic typology, a null subject language is a language whose grammar permits an independent clause to lack an explicit subject. ... A pro-drop language (from pronoun-dropping) is a language where pronouns can be deleted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable (the precise conditions vary from language to language, and can be quite intricate). ... In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection (regular alteration according to rules of grammar). ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pronouns (2221 words)
Grammarians classify pronouns into several types, including the personal pronoun, the demonstrative pronoun, the interrogative pronoun, the indefinite pronoun, the relative pronoun, the reflexive pronoun, and the intensive pronoun.
A possessive pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as a marker of possession.
PERSON is either 1st (the speaker), 2nd (the person being spoken to), or 3rd (the person outside of the communication situation, who is being spoken about).
What is a Pronoun? (1683 words)
A subjective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as the subject of the sentence.
An objective personal pronoun indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object of a verb, compound verb, preposition, or infinitive phrase.
The objective personal pronoun "her" is the direct object of the verb "forced" and the objective personal pronoun "him" is the object of the preposition "with."
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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