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Reflixive, Possessive and Intensive Pronouns

Grade 6
Aug 29, 2022

Read the following sentences: 

  1. A man is on his knees. 
  1. The lady is stretching her hand out to the man. 
  1. The crowd seems to be enjoying their evening. 

In all the above sentences, at one point, there comes a situation where pronouns had to be inevitably used in order to avoid repetition of the nouns that did the action. In the sentence, “A man is on his knees.”, the pronoun his is used so that we do not have to repeat the noun a man. The remaining sentences also make good use of the pronouns accordingly. 

Now read the sentence; 

  • Don’t hurt yourself. 

Here, the word yourself, that ends the sentence, should be added mandatorily so that the reader does not get confused. Without the pronoun yourself, there would be a sense of ambiguity about who the subject is going to hurt

 This is to say that, apart from the commonly used personal pronouns like he, she, it, and they, there are some special types of pronouns that need to be understood. 

This session will give a clear understanding of them. 


Possessive Pronouns: 

Read the sentence: 

  • Paul loves his watch

Here, we have the subject Paul who does the action.  

The pronoun his that replaces Paul insinuates that Paul owns the watch, i.e., in the sentence, the pronoun his indicates possession, and therefore it can be called a possessive pronoun

Now, let us define what possessive pronouns are: 

Possessive pronouns are the ones that show ownership. They tell us about something, be it a person, place, or a thing, that belongs to someone. To put it simply, they demonstrate ownership.Thepossessive pronouns that are used in English are my, our, your, his, her, its, and their



  • I want my book back. 
  • Did you sell your car? 
  • Our parents are very strict. 
  • Robin likes to keep his room clean. 

There is also an independent form for each of the possessive pronouns mentioned above. They are called absolute possessive pronouns. The absolute possessive pronouns are mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs. They mostly appear at the end of clauses or phrases. 


  • Those shoes are mine
  • The stage is yours. 
  • I am a friend of hers

Reflexive Pronouns: 

Read the sentence: 

  • Emily made herself some tea. 

In this sentence, the pronoun herself  tells us who Emily made the tea for. It was necessary to add the pronoun herself,  because its absence would mean that the reader will have no idea who Emily made the tea for. Therefore, as the pronoun herself  turns the action done by the subject back to the subject itself, we can say that in the sentence, herself  is a reflexive pronoun

What reflexive pronouns are: 

When we add -self  tomy, your, him, her, it and -selves to our, your, them, we get reflexive pronouns. They are called ‘reflexive’ because they turn the action done by the subject back to the subject itself. 


  • We did this to ourselves
  • Pick yourself  up. 
  • She locked herself  in the room. 

Intensive Pronouns: 

Read the sentence: 

  • I will do it myself. 

In this sentence, we could have easily avoided the pronoun myself and still the meaning wouldn’t have changed. But its presence here shows emphasis and therefore, we can say that in the sentence, the pronoun myself  is an intensive pronoun

What intensive pronouns are: 

When –self and –selves are used to show emphasis, or to stress on something they are called intensive pronouns. They are also called emphatic pronouns

The main difference between reflexive pronouns and intensive pronouns is that we may not necessarily add an intensive pronoun unless it is to make an emphasis. But reflexive pronouns are necessary to make the sentence complete. 


  • I myself am responsible for all that happened. 
  • We met the may or himself. 
  • She wrote it down herself


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