Definition of pronoun in English:



  • A word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g. I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g. she, it, this).

    • ‘Note, by the way, that there is nothing necessarily illogical about using singular pronouns in such cases.’
    • ‘Languages also vary with respect to the grammatical functions a logophoric pronoun can perform.’
    • ‘Things are even clearer with the object pronoun in the third person singular.’
    • ‘Likewise, for the adjectives, determiners, and pronouns, we need to recognize both masculine and feminine forms.’
    • ‘A three-year-old can imitate adults and playmates, play make-believe with dolls and use pronouns or plural words.’
    • ‘Such words include pronouns, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, and prepositions.’
    • ‘I've always wondered why we use a plural pronoun to refer to a third, rather nebulous, individual.’
    • ‘At the moment I am trying to master 5 different tenses of verbs and also adverbs, pronouns and other vocabulary.’
    • ‘In English, conjunctions, determiners, interjections, particles, and pronouns are grammatical words.’
    • ‘Nahuatl once had an extensive system of honorifics, which affected not only the choice of pronouns, but also the forms of verbs, nouns, and pronouns.’
    • ‘However, I've never seen a kid use the same pronoun in contiguous sentences to refer to different people.’
    • ‘Some of the most common difficulties that their students have learning Bulgarian are pronouns, verbs and word order.’
    • ‘The asserted rule must be that a pronoun cannot refer to the noun portion of a possessive - but I've never heard of any such rule.’
    • ‘You couldn't get a noun and a pronoun and an adverb out in that time.’
    • ‘In two studies in which readers' eye movements were recorded, we examined the processing of pronouns bound by universal quantifiers.’
    • ‘Can you have a pronoun in the main clause coming earlier than an antecedent in a subordinate clause?’
    • ‘Once the family has been explicitly mentioned, Lanchester can refer to them with pronouns, in particular the pronoun them.’
    • ‘Strawson's idea was that descriptions refer because their anaphoric pronouns do.’
    • ‘The agreement targets were verbs and two types of pronouns, produced in the course of a sentence-completion task.’
    • ‘As seems to be the case in Malaysian, there is some equivocation about whether the borrowings are pronouns or just nouns.’


Late Middle English: from pro- ‘on behalf of’, + noun, suggested by French pronom, Latin pronomen (from pro- ‘for, in place of’ + nomen ‘name’).