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What is a pronoun?

Pronouns are words that stand in for other words, such as nouns or phrases. Pronouns avoid repetition and make writing clear and concise. Examples of pronouns are she, he, they, and it, which can replace names or objects that have already been mentioned.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians. We're going to start talking about pronouns today, and of course that begins with the question, What are pronouns? Allow me to answer that question by way of a demonstration. Emma laughed so hard, milk came out of Emma's nose. Zach lifted the log. Zach found a worm under the log. So, these sentences don't have pronouns, but what they do have is repeated nouns. Here we have Emma and then we say Emma's again, and then we say Zach and the log, and then we say Zach and the log. But, people are smart, right? We have relatively long attention spans, and so if we start off a sentence talking about Emma, and we're pretty sure that we're still talking about Emma, we don't need to say that name twice. We don't need to say Emma and then Emma again. So, what a pronoun does is it allows you to take out the unnecessary noun when we're very certain we know what we're talking about. So you don't have to say Emma a million times, you can replace Emma with her. Same thing applies to the second two sentences. We don't have to keep on mentioning Zach and the log when we know what we're talking about. So the first sentence would still read Zach lifted the log, but then in the second sentence we can replace the name Zach, since we already know who we're talking about, with the word he, and we can replace this little phrase, the log, with it, since we know we're talking about the log. Now, words like her and he and it are all pronouns. So, what are pronouns? They are words that stand in for other words. Now, obviously, her, he, and it are not the only pronouns in English, but for now I just want you to think about the idea that a pronoun is a word that stands in for another word. You can learn anything. David out.