Pronouns and Determiners

There is considerable overlap between the determiner class and the subclass of pronouns. Many words can be both: 
This is a very boring book This book is very boring
That's an excellent film That film is excellent

As this table shows, determiners always come before a noun, but pronouns are more independent than this. They function in much the same way as nouns, and they can be replaced by nouns in the sentences above: 

This is a very boring book ~Ivanhoe is a very boring book
That's an excellent film ~Witness is an excellent film

On the other hand, when these words are determiners, they cannot be replaced by nouns: 

This book is very boring ~*Ivanhoe book is very boring
That film is excellent ~*Witness film is excellent

The personal pronouns (I, you, he, etc) cannot be determiners. This is also true of the possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his/hers, ours, and theirs). However, these pronouns do have corresponding forms which are determiners: 

Possessive Pronoun
The white car is mine My car is white
Yours is the blue coat Your coat is blue
The car in the garage is his/hers  His/her car is in the garage
David's house is big, but ours is bigger Our house is bigger than David's
Theirs is the house on the left Their house is on the left

The definite and the indefinite articles can never be pronouns. They are always determiners. 

In each of the folowing sentences, indicate whether the highlighted word is a determiner or a pronoun: 

1. These questions are easy Determiner   
2. Is this yours? Determiner   
3. Can I borrow some sugar? Determiner   
4. This play of yours - what's it about? Determiner   
5. These are really tasty Determiner   

More on Determiners...


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