I'm kicking off the first spoonful of 2020 with PERSONAL PRONOUNS, tiny words that deserve respect. Just try to write or speak without them, and you'll understand how much we rely on them. Clearly, I couldn't manage it, as this introduction is laced with pronouns!
PERSONAL PRONOUNS refer to specific people, places, and things (NOUNS). Here's the list:
SUBJECT: I, YOU, HE, SHE, THEY, WE, IT
OBJECT: ME, YOU, HIM, HER, THEM, US, IT
POSSESSIVE: MY/MINE, YOUR/YOURS, HIS, HER/HERS, THEIR/THEIRS, OUR/OURS, ITS
REFLEXIVE: MYSELF, YOURSELF/YOURSELVES, HERSELF, HIMSELF, OURSELVES, THEMSELVES, ITSELF
(Special note: MY, YOUR, HIS, HER, and THEIR act as possessive adjectives because they precede and modify nouns. Here's an example: "Let go of MY cookie!"
Consider the following repetitive, pronoun-less passage:
"Brandy loved to paint portraits. Brandy entered a painting in a city-wide art competition. Brandy was overjoyed when Brandy won 2nd place."
Did you notice how many times Brandy was repeated? Now let's tighten up that passage and add the pronoun SHE.
"Brandy entered a portrait painting in a city-wide art competition. She was overjoyed when she won 2nd place."
I hope you'll agree that the revised version is preferable. Here's a tip for the SAT and ACT: they value concise language. They also agree that all pronouns should be properly introduced. In the above example, Brandy's name must be listed before any pronouns are used.
I covered INDEFINITE PRONOUNS in Spoonfuls #5 and #6 and how to use ME, MYSELF, & I in Spoonful #31. The all-important topic of SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT (covered in Spoonful #4) applies to subject pronouns too! Stay tuned next week to learn how the SUBJECT PERSONAL PRONOUNS can help to decode POINT OF VIEW!
Laura Fineberg Cooper