The clue is in the word pro-noun at its simplest, it is a word that stands in place of a noun.
e.g. The dog looked at the sandwich and then he ate it.
Be careful not to confuse the reader with too many pronouns
e.g.The dog looked at the cat and it chased it till it was tired and it had to lie down and sleep.
In the above sentence, the reader might well be unsure about who became tired and had to sleep - the cat or the dog?
There are two types of pronouns
Relative pronouns - who, which, that, whom, whose - The boy who was crying ran down the lane.
Possessive pronouns - mine, ours, yours, his, hers, it’s, theirs - I told the girl the book was mine.
SORT IT - how would you sort these pronouns?
I, mine, you, we, his, he, theirs, she, it, we, they, you, ours, his, they, them
IMPROVE IT – Mrs Boulton has used far too many pronouns – can you help her rewrite the paragraph with just the right number of nouns and pronouns?
The unicorn flew down the lane towards the dragon. It stared at it as it landed and wondered if it was friendly. It snorted at it and it waited. It eyed it and it was uncertain what to do. It turned and flew off leaving it behind. It sighed, relieved that it was gone.
Now Mrs Boulton has used too many nouns and no pronouns – can you help her find the right balance of nouns and pronouns?
On a tall, bare hill overlooking the camp, Steve lay and watched. Far below Steve, Steve could just about make out the soldiers. The children were marching up and down. Mr Jenkins was barking out commands as the children plodded wearily up and down. The children looked tired beyond belief but Mr Jenkins did not seem to notice the children. Mr Jenkins shouted at the children. The children responded. Mr Jenkins shouted again, enjoying Mr Jenkins control over the children. Steve gritted Steve’s teeth and clenched Steve’s fist. Steve knew that Steve had to rescue the children before Mr Jenkins went any further.