Pronouns for Kids

by Craig Shrives

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What Are Pronouns? (for Kids)

Pronouns are used to avoid repetition. For example:
  • Jane has a dog. Jane also has a cat.
  • (There are no pronouns in this example. Notice that "Jane" is repeated.)
  • Jane has a dog. She also has a cat.
  • (In this example, "she" is a pronoun. It replaces the word "Jane," which is a noun.)
Here is another example:
  • The king was a kind man. The king loved the king's people.
  • (There are no pronouns in this example. Notice that "the king" is repeated.)
  • The king was a kind man. He loved his people.
  • (In this example, "He" and "his" are pronouns. They replace "king," which is a noun.)

It's Your Go!

Select the pronoun in each sentence:

Useful Fact about the Word "Pronoun"

pronoun etymology, in place of a noun
The word "pronoun" comes from the Old French word pronom, which comes from the Latin word pronomen. In Latin, pronomon means "in place of a noun."
  • pro means "in place of"
  • nomen means "name" or "noun"

Using Pronouns

A pronoun is a word used to replace a noun. In the opening examples, we saw the following pronouns:
  • she, which replaced the noun "Jane"
  • he, which replaced the noun "king"
  • his, which also replaced the noun "king"
The first two ("she" and "he") belong to a group called personal pronouns. The last one ("his") belongs to a group called possessive pronouns.
pronouns for kids

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are used instead of a person, place, or thing that has already been mentioned. Here is the full list of personal pronouns.
  • I, me, you, he, him, she, her, it, we, us, they, them
Let's look at some examples:
  • The lioness is feeding the cubs. She will take them to the river afterwards.
  • (In this example, "she" is a personal pronoun. It replaces the noun "lioness." "Them" is a personal pronoun. It replaces the noun "cubs.")
  • Twenty people swam the river. It was wide, but they all reached the other side.
  • (In this example, "it" is a personal pronoun. It replaces the noun "river." "They" is a personal pronoun. It replaces the noun "people.")

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership. Here is a full list of possessive pronouns:
  • mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs, whose
  • my, your, his, her, its, our, their, whose
The first seven can be used on their own. The others must be used with a noun. Let's look at some examples:
  • Hello, Mr. Smith. The red apple is yours.
  • (The word "yours" is a possessive pronoun. It is one of the ones that can be used on its own.)
  • Hello, Mr. Smith. The red apple is your apple.
  • (The word "your" is also a possessive pronoun. It is one of the ones that must be used with a noun, which is why it is before "apple.")
Remember that pronouns are used to avoid repetition. The possessive pronouns in the examples above avoid the following:
  • Hello, Mr. Smith. The red apple is Mr. Smith's.
  • Hello, Mr. Smith. The red apple is Mr. Smith's apple.
  • (These are marked as wrong because they sound so clumsy.)
At the start of this lesson, we said that a pronoun is a word used to replace a noun. With possessive pronouns, you have to think a little harder about the noun that is being replaced. Let's look at those examples again:
  • The red apple is yours.
  • (We know we are talking to Mr. Smith. The possessive pronoun "yours" replaces "Mr. Smith's," which is a noun.)
  • The red apple is your apple.
  • (Like before, the possessive pronoun "your" replaces "Mr. Smith.")

It's Your Go!

What type of pronoun is the word in bold?

Click on the Two Pronouns
(Interactive Game)

Key Point

Pronouns are used to replace nouns so we can avoid repetition.
Here is a video lesson on pronouns:

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See Also

Adjectives for kids Adverbs for kids Conjunctions for kids Nouns for kids Prepositions for kids Verbs for kids different types of pronouns pronouns for adult learners

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