Pronouns, as we know from past Good Grammars, are words that replace nouns. They simplify language and also stop it from being so dang repititive. They are some of the most commonly used words in the English language.
And just as nouns can be possessive (Shirley's boyfriend, the dog's chew toy, the class's field trip), pronouns can show possession, too. The simplest possessive pronouns are those act that as straight replacements for their antecedents. Grammatically, there is no difference between either set of words.
- Shirley's boyfriend = her boyfriend.
- The dog's chew toy = its chew toy.
- The class's field trip = their field trip.
These pronouns are as follows: my, your, his, her, its, our, and their.
There is, however, a second set of possessive pronouns. These pronouns take the place of not only the original possessive but the noun that is possessed. These pronouns are used to still show possession but avoid repeating even more words. For example (pronouns in italics):
- Shirley's boyfriend is cute. Too bad he's hers.
- My little sister likes to play with my toys, but they're mine.
- The new team's plan to stop the bomb from exploding should work. Theirs is the only trick we have left.
These pronouns are as follows: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs.
Just remember, though, that possessive pronouns need an antecedent to refer back to.