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Easy Pronoun Rules

Here are 5 easy rules and tips to help you avoid mistakes with English pronouns. For more comprehensive rules please look under the appropriate pronoun on our pronoun grammar pages.

1. A personal pronoun AGREES with the noun it replaces.

2. DO NOT place an adjective before a personal pronoun. A subject personal pronoun can have an adjective AFTER the verb. (Exceptions are fixed phrases like poor me, lucky you.)

3. Pronouns NEVER have an apostrophe ('). Do not add an apostrophe to possessive pronouns like hers, ours, theirs. (If you see an apostrophe, you are looking at a contraction.)

4. My is NOT a pronoun. A pronoun replaces a noun. In "This is my bag" the word my describes bag (it is a possessive determiner). In "This bag is mine" the word mine replaces my bag (it is a real pronoun). The same is true of your, its, our, their - they are possessive determiners. His and her can be pronoun OR possessive determiner.

5. DON'T put yourself first! It is good manners to put the other person before you. (This is not a question of grammar - just manners.)