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Understanding Pronouns and Reference in Texts


Understanding Pronouns and Reference in Texts – Basic competence: Understanding the forms and the function of pronouns and reference in texts.

Learn about it!

In this lesson, you will learn how to understand the forms as well as the function of pronouns and reference in contextual texts.

Understanding Pronouns

A pronoun basically replaces a noun, a noun group, or a name. It refers to something that has been named or mentioned in the text. Take a look at the texts below.

Do you notice the differences from the first and second box?

Well, pronoun is strongly interrelated with how reference works in a text. The use of pronouns helps maintaining reference in which information is introduced and maintained throughout the text. The use of which avoids clumsiness, flatness, and boring repetition in a text. It also helps readers to understand the text with such ease.

There are two important rules that have to be fulfilled when you try to understand pronouns. Those are:

  1. Understand which noun the pronoun refers to. It can refer to either the word mentioned earlier or the word forward in a text.
    For example:
    Deny talked on TV. He talked about politics.
    After it was cleaned, the bike looked better.
  2. Understand that a pronoun takes a form of the same gender and number as the noun it has replaced.
    For example:
    The books were on the table. Now they are gone.
    When she came late, Riona apologized.

Next, it is important to understand that there are many types of pronouns. This lesson is focused more on four types of pronouns: Subject pronoun, Object pronoun, Reflexive pronoun, and Possessive pronoun.

Look at the table below:

  • Pronoun forms will be different according to the part of the noun it replaces. For instance, to refer to ‘The girl’ as a subject, pronoun ‘She’ is used; while as an object, pronoun ‘Her’ is used.
  • In possessive pronoun, the pronoun refers to the things that are owned by someone or something else. Note that this is different from possessive adjective such as “My”, “Their”, etc; those still have to be followed by the nouns.
    This laptop is Nadia’s laptop. Hers is a brand new one.
  • In reflexive pronoun, it is a little bit different from those mentioned earlier because in reflexive pronoun, the subject and the object of the sentence are the same things or persons.
    He called himself The Superman.
    They made themselves look bad.

Do you understand?

After all, pronouns are used in many kinds of texts and in many different contexts. To understand more about these, let’s study the movie review below and notice its use of the pronouns.


In conclusion, there are several things that we need to understand clearly about pronouns:

  • Pronouns take place of nouns, noun groups, or names.
  • The function of those is to avoid clumsiness, flatness, and repetition.
  • Understand which nouns the pronouns refer to, it can be identified by looking at the type, the gender and the number of nouns themselves.
Understanding Pronouns and Reference in Texts | lookadmin | 4.5