In linguistics and grammar, pronouns are words that substitutes a noun or a noun phrase. Pronouns are regarded as one of the parts of speech. Subtypes include personal and possessive pronouns, reflexive and reciprocal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, relative and interrogative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns.
First person pronouns include "I, me, my, myself, mine, we, us, our, ours, ourselves." Second-person pronouns include "you, your, yours, yourself and yourselves." Third person pronouns are where it is a little more tricky in the context of English grammar, as third person singular pronouns in English are traditionally gendered, and exclude non-binary people.
However, with the inclusion of "singular they" and neopronouns, non-binary people can refer to themselves with the correct pronoun. Common examples of third person pronouns are she/her/hers, he/him/his and they/them/theirs.
Though most people will choose a single pronoun set to go by, some people choose to go by multiple pronoun sets.
Some examples of pronoun sets used by English speakers to refer to individuals are:
|Person||Number/Gender||Subject||Object||Possessive determiner||Possessive pronoun||Reflexive|
|Plural||you (all)||you (all)||your||yours||yourselves|
To show the usage of pronouns, here is a list of ways to use them with this sentence. "[Subject pronoun] looked at [reflexive pronoun] in the mirror, and [possessive pronoun] reflection smiled back at [object pronoun].
First-person pronouns are pronouns that the speaker or writer uses to refer to themself or to themself and another person.
- I/me/my/myself: First person singular.
- I looked at myself in the mirror, and my reflection smiled back at me.
- We/us/our/ourselves: First person plural. Includes the speaker and someone else.
- We looked at ourselves in the mirror, and our reflection smiled back at us.
Second-person pronouns are pronouns that the speaker or writer uses to refer to the person or people they are talking to.
- You/you/your/yourself: Second person singular.
- You looked at yourself in the mirror, and your reflection smiled back at you.
- You (all)/you/your/yourselves: Second person plural.
- You (all) looked at yourselves in the mirror, and your reflection smiled back at you.
Third-person pronouns are pronouns that the speaker or writer uses to refer to a person, people, group(s), animal(s), or object(s) they are talking about.
- She/her/hers/herself. This pronoun is traditionally feminine and used to refer to females and people who identify as women.
- She looked at herself in the mirror, and her reflection smiled back at her.
- He/him/his/himself. This pronoun is traditionally masculine and used to refer to males and people who identify as men.
- He looked at himself in the mirror, and his reflection smiled back at him.
- They/them/theirs/themself. "Singular they."
- They looked at themself in the mirror, and their reflection smiled back at them.
- They/them/theirs/themselves. "Plural they."
- They looked at themselves in the mirror, and their reflection smiled back at them.
- It/its/itself. Traditionally used for inanimate objects, certain animals, or as placeholder subject in sentences with no identifiable actor. Some people use it/its/itself pronouns, however it's important to err on the side of caution. Using it/its pronouns to a person who does not claim them is considered dehumanizing as it implies that the person isn't human.
- It looked at itself in the mirror, and its reflection smiled back at it.
Indefinite; the "fourth-person"
The term "fourth person" is sometimes used for the category of indefinite or generic referents, which work like one in English phrases such as "one should be prepared" or people in "people say that..." or they such as "they say that..." when the grammar treats them differently from ordinary third-person forms.
- One looked at oneself in the mirror, and one's reflection smiled back at one.
Neopronouns are any set of nontraditional single third person pronouns that are created with the intent of being a gender neutral pronoun set. These pronouns are, for the most part, not officially recognized in the language.
- Ey/em/eirs/eirself. Elverson.
- Ey looked at eirself in the mirror, and eir reflection smiled back at em.
- E/Em/Eirs/emself. Spivak.
- E looked at Emself in the mirror, and Eir reflection smiled back at Em.
- Xe looked at xemself in the mirror, and xyr reflection smiled back at xem.
- Sie looked at hirself in the mirror, and hir reflection smiled back at hir.
- Ve looked at verself in the mirror, and vis reflection smiled back at ver.
- Ze looked at zirself in the mirror, and zir reflection smiled back at zir.
- Ne looked at nemself in the mirror, and nir reflection smiled back at nem.
- Ze looked at zemself in the mirror, and zer reflection smiled back at zem.
- Fae looked at faerself in the mirror, and faer reflection smiled back at faer.
- Per looked at perself in the mirror, and per reflection smiled back at per.