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).

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


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