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Using Pronouns as Noun Phrase Heads

Nouns are traditionally defined as words that name people, places, things, and ideas. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Noun phrases consist of a noun including a pronoun plus any determiners, modifiers, and complements. A pronoun may also take the place of an entire noun phrase. Pronoun is a subcategory of noun.

In grammar, a noun phrase head is the word that functions as the head of noun phrase. In addition to nouns, pronouns also perform the grammatical function of noun phrase head. Examples of pronouns as noun phrase heads include the following:

  • you
  • me
  • somebody special
  • nobody in particular
  • anyone to bother
  • no one to love
  • the red one
  • those ugly ones


Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton. 2010. The linguistic structure of Modern English, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hopper, Paul J. 1999. A short course in grammar. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Huddleston, Rodney. 1984. Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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