Last time we looked at adjectives and adverbs. If you missed it, click here for a refresher and to have a go at the quick quiz to test your knowledge. How did you get on?
This time we’re looking at Pronouns, Prepositions and Conjunctions:
There are many different types of pronoun each serving a different purpose in a sentence.
A personal pronoun is a word such as I, you, he, she, it, we, or they and can be the subject of a sentence.
The subject pronoun is often (but not always) found at the beginning of a sentence, e.g.
- I (subject pronoun) went to the shops.
A personal pronoun can also be the object of a verb, such as me, her, him, it, you, them and us.
The object pronoun shows the recipient of an action. It comes after the verb and prepositions, e.g.
- He gave (verb) the gift to (preposition) her (object pronoun).
Sometimes there is confusion over which pronoun to use when you are one half of a dual subject or object e.g.
- should you say: ‘Me and him went to the cinema’ or ‘He and I went to the cinema’? Obviously the second one is correct.
A good test to decide which one you need is to try the sentence with one pronoun at a time, e.g.
- Would you say, ‘Him went to the cinema’? No, you would say, ‘He went to the cinema’.
- Likewise, would you say, ‘Me went to the cinema’? No, you would say, ‘I went to the cinema’.
So, when you put the two subjects together, you get, ‘He and I went to the cinema’.
Other types of pronoun include:
A possessive pronoun shows ownership, such as hers, mine, ours, his, its or theirs, e.g.
- You (personal pronoun) have your drink and I have mine (possessive pronoun).
A reflexive pronoun is one ending in ‘self’ or ‘selves’ such as myself or themselves.
They are object pronouns used when the subject and object are the same noun, e.g.
- I told myself not to buy that book
There are five demonstrative pronouns: these, those, this, that and such.
They focus attention on the nouns that are being replaced, e.g.
- Such was his understanding.
- Those are fantastic!
These pronouns are used to begin a question, such as who, whom, which, what, whoever, whomever, whichever and whatever. e.g.
- What is the name of that thing?
A preposition is a word such as after, between, under, by, in, to, on and with.
They are generally used before a noun or pronoun and describe:
- The position of something, e.g. the dog was under the table.
- The time something happens, e.g. they arrived on Saturday.
- The way in which something is done, e.g. we went by car.
Should a sentence end in a preposition? Why not? Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid, e.g.
- The coat has not been paid for (not ‘paid for the coat has not been’).
- What did Joe think he was up to? (not ‘to what did Joe think he was up?’).
So, it’s perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition.
Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge of prepositions:
Complete the following sentences with the correct preposition: To, toward, on, onto, in or into
Some sentences have more than one possible correct answer:
- John has returned _____ his home town.
- The dog jumped ____ the lake.
- The girls are still swimming ____ the pool.
- Jack fell ____ the floor.
- The plane landed ____ the runway.
- We drove ____ the town but turned off before we got there.
- I moved the table ____ the dining room.
- John drove me ____ the airport.
- Anne jumped _____ the stage and danced.
- I caught the bus that was heading ____ the university.
If you want to see how you got on, click here.
There are three types of conjunctions:
These are words like and, nor or so. They link equal parts of a sentence, be it words, phrases or clauses e.g.
- He was late for school, so he took a shortcut.
- His favourite colours are red and green.
- She doesn’t like coffee, nor does she like tea.
These are words like because, since and after. They link a dependent clause to an independent clause, helping to emphasise the idea of the independent clause, e.g.
- We had to cancel the barbeque because it was raining.
- The house was a mess after the party.
- He couldn’t play rugby any more, since he had the accident.
These are words that work in pairs to join equal elements of a sentence together, such as: either/or, such/that and not only/but also, e.g.
- You can have either beer or wine.
- He not only plays the piano but also the drums.
- Such was his strength that was easily able to move the furniture.
You probably use these conjunctions every day but without realising their status within the grammar field. That’s what makes the English language so fascinating.
If you’ve missed any of the previous parts of Grammar – Love it or Loathe it?, select from the list below:
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Peter Clarke aka ‘The OopsProofer’