Monday, December 21, 2009

English pronouns

When we wish to speak of a name several times in succession, itis clumsy and tiresome to repeat the noun. For instance, instead ofsaying, "The pupil will succeed in the pupil's efforts if thepupil is ambitious," we improve the sentence by shortening it thus,"The pupil will succeed in his efforts if he is ambitious."

Again, if we wish to know about the ownership of a house, we evidentlycannot state the owner's name, but by a question we say, "Whosehouse is that?" thus placing a word instead of the name till we learnthe name.

This is not to be understood as implying that pronouns were inventedbecause nouns were tiresome, since history shows that pronouns are asold as nouns and verbs. The use of pronouns must have sprung upnaturally, from a necessity for short, definite, and representativewords.
A pronoun is a reference word, standing for a name, or for a personor thing, or for a group of persons or things.

Pronouns may be grouped in five classes:--

(1) Personal pronouns, which distinguish person by their form
(2) Interrogative pronouns, which are used to ask questions aboutpersons or things.
(3) Relative pronouns, which relate or refer to a noun, pronoun, orother word or expression, and at the same time connect two statementsThey are also called conjunctive.
(4) Adjective pronouns, words, primarily adjectives, which areclassed as adjectives when they modify nouns, but as pronouns whenthey stand for nouns.
(5) Indefinite pronouns, which cannot be used as adjectives, butstand for an indefinite number of persons or things.

Numerous examples of all these will be given under the separateclasses hereafter treated.

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