• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Saterfrisian
  • Afrikaans
Show all
6 Pronouns

Pronouns include a wide class of items, which languages make use of in order to make utterances short, avoiding lengthy and dull repetitions. In a broad sense, this would include relative and interrogative pronouns, and the likes. In a narrow sense, it includes subject and non-subject pronouns and reflexives and reciprocals. Below we discuss pronouns in the narrow sense.

Some classes of pronouns were dealt with elsewhere. Thus, articles can be used as pronouns, that is, they can be used without a following noun. The following articles, and their pronominal usage, are discussed in: NP, Articles and Names (5):

The relative pronoun used for subject and object relatives is identical in form to the definite article, in case the relative clause has an overt antecedent. On relative pronouns, see: Modification of NP by relative clauses (3.5).

There are more pronouns than those mentioned so far. The following pronouns are likewise discussed elsewhere, see:


The term pronoun is used for the use of designated items to refer to previous and longer utterances. A closely related term is that of ellipsis, because ellipsis similarly has a pronominal function. Superficially, ellipsis does not involve a designated overt pronominal element: thus ellipsis is covert. A borderline case is the case of an attributive adjective without a following noun. Is it ellipsis? Of do we treat it as pronominal, identifying agreement as the pronominal element? All this is a matter of theoretical concern, which we cannot deal with here for various reasons. Our purpose is to produce an accessible overview of the basic facts of the language, and we use the theoretical terms which suits our purpose best, without claiming full consistency or theoretical superiority. The following pronouns are discussed in the topics below:

The pronouns mentioned here all refer to NPs. Some subject and object pronouns have a strong and a weak form whereas others do not.

    printreport errorcite