Wednesday, July 8, 2015
All the Pretty Pronouns, Well, Half of Them I Guess...
We explored first person pronouns first because we live in a narcissistic, self-referential, autocentric society, essentially the “me” generation boiled over onto the rest of the stove. Now having coddled the ego a bit, we can look at some of the other pronouns.
The first person pronoun belongs to the personal pronoun family, which comprises three pronouns for each of the first, second and third person usages, depending on whether it is functioning as the subject or the object, and whether it is singular or plural: I, me and we, and he, him and them, or she, her and them, depending on usage. You is always you, whether it is subject or object, singular or plural, and that’s what I love about you. Constancy, reliability, unshakeable resolve. Why can't the other pronouns be like you? There will never be another you.
Possessive pronouns are a good tangent, especially if we start with mine. That way we can stick with the self-obsession theme and urge all Americans to participate in that most patriotic of activities, accumulating possessions. His, hers, ours, theirs, even its. Once the nation’s economic engines are stoked, we’ll need those possessive pronouns to figure out whose stuff is whose.
We also dealt with restrictive clauses when selecting which over that a few weeks ago. What we failed to do at the time was name the function of the word which, which is usually a relative pronoun. Relative pronouns introduce a restrictive or subordinate clause, e.g., “I brought a box of Jell-O Pudding Pops to the Oprah taping, which was promptly confiscated.”