If James had asked James's father, James's father would have allowed James to go nutting with James's playmates.
No one thinks of using such awkward English in talking or writing, as we have given in the sentence above.
Instead of repeating the nouns so many times, we use other words in their stead, and our sentence becomes:
If James had asked his father, he would have allowed him to go nutting with his playmates.
The words his, he, and him used instead of the nouns in the first sentence are called pronouns.
A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.
I met James and told him that you would be in town early.
In this sentence I represents the speaker, you represents the person addressed, and him represents the person spoken of.
Such words as I, you, and him, are called personal pronouns.
A personal pronoun is a pronoun whose form shows whether it represents the speaker, the person addressed, or the person or thing spoken of.
Personal pronouns are either simple; as, I, you, they; or compound; as, myself, yourself, itself.
The personal pronouns of the first person are the simple pronoun I and the compound myself.
I is declined as follows:
When a person speaks of himself and another, it is in accordance with good usage to put the pronoun denoting himself last: as, John and I were present.
The compound pronouns myself and ourselves have no possessive forms, and are the same in the nominative and objective cases.
1. I myself was present.
2. I fell and hurt myself.
The personal pronouns of the second person are the simple pronoun thou and you, and the compound pronouns thyself and yourself
Thou and you are declined as follows:
1. You cannot recall your first blessings.
2. You, my countrymen, cannot shirk your responsibilities as citizens.
You, your, and yours are now used when addressing one person or more than one.
1. Thou art the God of our fathers.
2. Hallowed be thy name.
3. I would the great world grew like thee.
Thou is rarely used at the present time, except in the worship of God, and in poetry.
1. Ye crags and peaks! I'm with you once again.
2. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
Ye is now rarely used except in poetry and elevated prose.
The personal pronouns of the third person are the simple pronouns he, she, it, and the compound pronouns himself, herself, and itself.
He, she, and it are declined as follows:
1. It is best to think before speaking.
2. It often happens that we talk too much.
1. My book lies on your desk.
2. His name stands first on my list.
The pronominal forms my, thy, his, her, its, our, your, and their are used when they stand immediately before a noun.
Write sentences showing the correct use of each of these pronouns.
1. Yours is the better form for general use, mine is better for me.
2. I have your book, you have mine.
3. We have our friends, you have yours.
The forms mine, thine, hers, ours, yours, and theirs, though possessive in form, are now used in the nominative and objective cases when the noun is omitted.
In parsing a pronoun like yours, in the last example, it is well to state that it is possessive in form, but used in the objective case as the object of the verb have. It is really a substitute for your friends.
In parsing such idiomatic expressions as "this book of mine," "that horse of yours," it is best to parse of mine and of yours as adjective phrases; but mine and yours may be parsed as pronouns, possessive in form, but in the objective case and governed by the preposition of.