Possessive Pronouns | Examples, Definition & List

Possessive pronouns are pronouns that are used to indicate the ownership (possession) of something or someone by something or someone else. The English possessive pronouns are mine, ours, yours, his, hers, theirs, and whose.

Possessive pronouns are closely related to possessive determiners, which are used differently since they appear before a noun instead of replacing it. The possessive determiners are my, our, your, his, her, its, their, and whose.

Possessive pronouns and determiners
Possessive pronouns Possessive determiners
I don’t think this one is mine. This is my dog, Fido.
Do you know which table is ours? At our house, we have some special Christmas traditions.
Yours is the nicest living room I’ve ever been in. I’d love to get your feedback.
Those books are his. I don’t know; I’ve never met his family.
The problem is hers to deal with; I’m not getting involved. What are her hobbies?
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is best remembered for its final movement.
You haven’t had real chocolate until you’ve tried theirs. If they want to get worked up about it, that’s their prerogative.
Whose are these papers? The house, whose windows were still open, had been abandoned weeks ago.
Note
Its can technically be used as a possessive pronoun (i.e., standing on its own in a statement like “the toys are its”), but this usage is very rare in modern English and best avoided if you want your writing to read smoothly. Its is normally only used as a possessive determiner (e.g., “its toys”).

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Subject & Object Pronouns | Definition & Examples

Subject and object pronouns are two different kinds of pronouns (words that replace nouns) that play different grammatical roles in sentences:

  • A subject pronoun (I, we, he, she, they, or who) refers to the person or thing that performs an action. It normally appears at the start of a sentence, before the verb.
  • An object pronoun (me, us, him, her, them, or whom) refers to the person or thing affected by an action. It normally comes after a verb or preposition.
  • All other pronouns (e.g., “you,” “it,” “this,” “one,” “what”) and nouns (e.g., “dog”) have only one form, which is used for both cases.
Examples of subject and object pronouns
Subject pronouns Object pronouns
I go to the library regularly. Jana told me about it.
We haven’t met before. There’s a letter thanking us for our hospitality.
You should visit Paris. Everyone’s waiting for you outside.
He said that John would handle it. Don’t tell him; it’s a surprise!
She has applied for several jobs. Lots of people admire her.
It looks like a tiger. Somebody ought to look into it.
They are arriving tomorrow. Let’s stick them up on the fridge.
Who wants to go first? Whom are you looking for?
Note
The only pronouns with different subject and object forms are the personal pronouns (except for “you” and “it”) and the relative or interrogative pronouns who and whom. With other pronouns (and nouns), you don’t need to worry about case.

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Interrogative Pronouns | Definition, Examples & List

Interrogative pronouns are pronouns that are used to ask questions. The main English interrogative pronouns are what, which, who, whom, and whose.

An interrogative pronoun normally appears at the start of a question, but it may instead appear in the middle or at the end, depending on the phrasing. A question can also include more than one interrogative pronoun.

Like other pronouns, interrogative pronouns are said to have an antecedent. This is the noun or noun phrase that they stand for. The antecedent of an interrogative pronoun is the answer to the question.

Pronoun Asks about … Question Answer
Interrogative pronouns
What An animal or thing from a large or unspecified number of options What is the country with the highest proportion of vegetarians? India is the country with the highest proportion of vegetarians.
Which An animal or thing from a limited number of options Which is your favorite flavor, vanilla or strawberry? Strawberry is my favorite flavor.
Who A person who is the subject of the sentence (person performing an action) Who made this mess? Danny made this mess.
Whom A person who is the object of the sentence (person acted upon) To whom did you speak? I spoke to Jennifer.
Whose The owner of something Whose is that handbag? That handbag is Natalie’s.

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Relative Pronouns | Definition, List & Examples

A relative pronoun is a pronoun that’s used to introduce a relative clause. The main English relative pronouns are which, that, who, and whom. These words can also function as other parts of speech—they aren’t exclusively used as relative pronouns.

A relative clause introduces further information about the preceding noun or noun phrase, either helping to identify what it refers to (in a restrictive clause) or just providing extra details (in a nonrestrictive clause).

The relative clause comes after a noun or noun phrase (called the antecedent) and gives some additional information about the thing or person in question. The relative pronoun represents the antecedent.

Pronoun Usage Example
Which
  • Refers to things
  • Used in nonrestrictive clauses
My bike, which I’ve owned for three years, is in need of some maintenance.
That
  • Refers to things
  • Used in restrictive clauses
The last bike that I owned wasn’t very resilient.
Who The man who lives next door to me is called Jamil.
Whom I don’t know the names of my other neighbors, whom I’ve never met.

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Demonstrative Pronouns | Definition, List & Examples

The four English demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those. They are used to highlight something that was previously mentioned or that is clear from the context.

Demonstrative pronouns “demonstrate” something; using them is the verbal equivalent of pointing at something or someone. They draw attention to the thing or person you’re referring to.

Demonstrative pronouns indicate number (singular or plural) and the relative distance of the thing being referred to.

Examples of the demonstrative pronouns
Near (proximal) Far (distal)
Singular This is my friend Jamie. I don’t know about that. Let’s discuss it tomorrow.
Plural I like all kinds of chocolates, but these are my favorites. Those are my notebooks on the desk.

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How to End an Email | 10 Closing Lines & Sign-Offs

Sending good emails is an essential professional skill. In addition to knowing how to start an email, you should understand how to end one, with an engaging closing line, an appropriate sign-off, and a proper email signature.

Below, we provide you with five strong closing lines and five professional sign-offs to use in your correspondence. We also discuss what information you should include in your signature.

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How to Start an Email | 10 Greetings & Opening Lines

Sending good emails is an important skill in academic and professional contexts. It’s essential to start your emails on the right foot with an appropriate greeting and an engaging opening line.

Below, we explore how to start an email, providing five professional greetings and five strong opening lines that you can use in your correspondence. We also explain the contexts where each one would be an appropriate choice.

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Ms. vs. Mrs. vs. Miss | Difference & Pronunciation

The words Ms., Mrs., and Miss are all titles used to address women formally (e.g., at the start of an email). Which one you should use depends on the age and marital status of the woman, as well as on her own preference about how she should be addressed.

  • Ms. (pronounced [miz]) is a neutral option that doesn’t indicate any particular marital status. It’s most commonly used for older unmarried women and for women whose marital status you don’t know, but you can use it for any adult woman.
  • Mrs. (pronounced [miss-iz]) is used to address a married woman of any age.
  • Miss (pronounced [miss]) is used to address a young unmarried woman or girl.
Examples: Ms. in a sentence Examples: Mrs. in a sentence Examples: Miss in a sentence
Ms. Nielsen is a talented pianist. I hope she’ll play for us at the party. I’ve known Mr. and Mrs. Jayna for a few years. Excuse me, miss. Is this your backpack?
Have you met Ms. Sofi before? Mrs. Thompson is an entrepreneur; she started her own business last year. I always get too much homework from Miss Jonas.

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Dear Sir or Madam | Alternatives & When to Use

Dear Sir or Madam is a standard salutation used to start an email or letter to a person whose identity you’re not sure of. Though it’s a traditional phrasing, it’s recommended to avoid it if possible since it’s very impersonal and quite old-fashioned.

It’s always best to address the person directly by name if you can find out this information. If not, other options include using the name of the group or department, the person’s job title, or, if you’re not addressing one specific person, “To Whom It May Concern.”

Examples: Dear Sir or Madam alternatives
Dear Ms. Johnson, …

Dear Department of Communications, …

Dear Hiring Manager, …

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Sincerely Yours | Meaning, When to Use & Examples

Sincerely yours is a standard sign-off, used to end an email or letter, followed by your name on the next line. “Sincerely” is an adverb meaning “genuinely” and is used to emphasize your honest intentions toward the person addressed.

This sign-off is relatively formal, but according to some authorities it should only be used when writing to someone you already know, not a complete stranger. An alternative like “Yours truly” should be used with someone you’ve never written to before.

Example: Sincerely yours
Dear Mr. Leslie,

I am writing to inform you …

Sincerely yours,

Jack Caulfield

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