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What Is a Plural Pronoun?

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  • Written By: D. Coodin
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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A plural pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun of more than one number, making communication more efficient. For instance, in the sentence, "Although Lisa and Jim were hungry, they couldn't stop to eat," "they" is a plural pronoun that allows the speaker to avoid repeating "Lisa and Jim." Plural pronouns have multiple uses in the English language. They can be used to as subjects, as objects, possessively or demonstratively.

One way that a plural pronoun can be used is as the subject in a sentence, or the agent that performs an action. Pronouns used in this way always take the form of "we," "you" or "they." "We" is a first person plural pronoun, as in the sentence, "We walked to school even though it was raining." "You" is used in the second person plural, as in, "You are all wrong," while "they" is used in the third person plural, as in, "They made it back to camp."

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Plural pronouns can also be used as objects in sentences, or to replace a plural noun upon which an action is performed. These always come in the form of "us," "you" and "them." In the first person objective case, the plural pronoun "us" is appropriate, as in the sentence, "The opposing team defeated us badly." As in the subjective case, "you" is used in the second person, as in the sentence, "I warned you guys not to do that." "Them" is used as a third person plural pronoun, as in, "Although the students were bright, the math problem was too difficult for them."

If a speaker is trying to demonstrate ownership, he can use a possessive plural pronoun, which is usually one of the following words: "our," "your," "their," "yours," or "theirs." For example, a speaker could indicate possession by saying, "Our plane was delayed by an hour." This is in contrast to a singular possessive pronoun, in which case the sentence would read, "My plane was delayed by an hour." Similarly, the sentence, "The advantage is theirs" indicates that advantage belongs to a group of people, referred to in the third person plural.

Another use for a plural pronoun is to demonstrate, using the word "these" or "those." A speaker would use "these" or "those" when referring to a group of nouns that is either proximate or distant. For example, the sentence "These grapes are green" suggests that the grapes are close to the speaker, such that he can offer them up as a concrete example. By contrast, "Those grapes are green" suggests that they are farther away.

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