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Prepositions and pronouns


Prepositions show the relationship between things, usually in terms of space, distance, time, etc.

Here are some examples: on;  in;  under;  over;  above; from;  to .

The paper is on the shelf.

The preposition 'on' shows the relationship between 'paper' and 'shelf'.


Pronouns are words we use when we do not wish or need to repeat the noun.

Sandra is a friend of mine.                            "She (Sandra) is a very nice person."

"Whose book is this?"                                                            "It's mine ." (my book)

"Which plan do you prefer?"                        "That one (plan) or this one (plan)?"


Subject pronouns

I, you, he, she, it, we, they

These are the subject pronouns in English.  They are so called because they are the subject of verbs and indicate who or what is doing the action of the verb.

In some languages, the subject pronouns are not always included because it is the ending of the verb which signals who or what is doing the action.

In many languages, there are several ways of saying 'you'.  Which form to use may depend on whether you are addressing one person or more than one.  It may also depend on the relationship between people, for example, whether you are speaking to a friend or merely an acquaintance.

Direct object pronouns

Me, you, him, her, it, us, them.  

In English it is not easy to distinguish between direct object and indirect object pronouns but in many other languages it is very important to do so.  The direct object pronoun indicates the person or thing which directly 'suffers' or 'is affected by' the action of the verb.

Indirect object pronouns

to me, to you, to him, to her, to it, to us, to them.


me, you, him. her, it, us, them

As you can see, in English the difference between direct and indirect object pronouns is not always obvious because the same idea can be expressed in two different ways:  'me' could be either a direct object or an indirect object.

For example, we can say either:

"He gave the letter to me. ."               or:

"He gave me the letter."

In these last two  sentences, it is clearly 'the letter' which is given; 

'the letter' is the direct object but 'me' or 'to me' is also involved as the indirect object of the sentence.

An object pronoun is said to be indirect when it 'suffers' or 'receives' indirectly the action of the verb.

In many languages it is important to recognise whether a pronoun is direct or indirect because often (though not always) the direct object pronoun looks quite different from the indirect object pronoun:

e.g. in French and Italian, the word for 'him' is different from the word for 'to him'.  Equally, the words for 'her' and 'to her', 'them' and 'to them' have quite distinct forms.

Reflexive pronouns

myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, themselves.

In many languages other than English, certain verbs are always accompanied by a reflexive pronoun.  In French, German, Italian and Spanish, for example, you do not say 'I dress' but 'I dress myself',  'you dress yourself', etc.

Possessive pronouns

The possessive pronouns are:

mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs.

Here is an example of a possessive pronoun in use:

"Whose book is this?"                        "It's mine.."

Here the word mine clearly stands for 'my book'.

Demonstrative pronouns

In English, the demonstrative pronouns are:

this (one), that (one), these (ones), those (ones).

These are called demonstrative because you actually have to indicate which one you are referring to.

"Which design do you prefer?   This one (design) or that one (design)?