What is a pronoun? Pronouns are words which take the place of a noun in a sentence, such as: she, he, them, they, there and it.

The sentences below demonstrate the difference between pronouns and proper nouns:

  • Alice took her bike to Cornwall.

This sentence is using the proper nouns; Alice and Cornwall.

Whereas, if we were to use pronouns the sentence would read:

  • She took her bike there.

In this example, the pronoun ‘she’ takes the place of Alice (a proper noun), and ‘there’ takes the place of Cornwall (another proper noun).

The word ‘she’ is an example of a personal pronoun, which is a word that can be used to replace the name of a place, person or thing. Other personal pronouns for people include:

  • He, it, they, me, her, him, them and us.
  • They, them and it can also be used to describe things.

When will children learn about pronouns?

Children are taught about nouns from Key Stage 1 onwards and will learn first about capitalising names of people and places (proper nouns). Teachers will also encourage children to not repeat nouns in their sentences and to instead use pronouns.

Reading in class and at home will help children see that using pronouns creates better sentences. Teachers may also demonstrate on the board the difference that using pronouns can make, as well as showing children where their own writing could be improved with pronouns.

Why is it important for children to use pronouns?

Pronouns are useful in sentences which refer to a place, person or object more than once, as it means the noun does not have to be repeated. This is helpful for children to learn before they go on to do more creative writing, as it improves the flow of a sentence. For example:

  • Sarah got Sarah’s shoes from Sarah’s cupboard and then Sarah walked downstairs.

This sentence would sound a lot better by incorporating pronouns:

  • Sarah got her shoes from her cupboard and then she walked downstairs.

In this sentence, the word ‘her’ is an example of a possessive pronoun, as it shows ownership of Sarah’s shoes. Other possessive pronouns include: his, our, their, its, my, whose and your. Some possessive pronouns, like ‘mine’ or ‘theirs’, do not need to be used in conjunction with a noun but can be used on their own.

How does Learning Street help children with pronouns?

The Learning Street courses will introduce and develop children’s understanding of pronouns in a way that compliments what they have done in class.

Without a solid understanding of pronouns, it will be hard for children to develop their English skills. This is why our courses will ensure they have a firm grip through introduction, extension and revision.

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