Writing Craft: What are intensive pronouns, and how do you use them?

Intensive Pronouns. Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

It’s always good to dig into a little bit of grammar here and there, so let’s take a look at intensive pronouns and both define them and see how they can be utilized in our own writing.


Intensive Pronouns Defined

Before we begin, let’s look at a couple of pre-definitions:

Nouns: A person, place, or thing

Examples: Man, store, car

Pronouns: A pronoun takes the place of a noun or a noun phrase that has already appeared in a sentence or that we don’t need to be too specific about in the sentence.

Example: Larry (noun) wanted to wash his car, so he (pronoun) decided to buy soap.

(He is the pronoun in the above sentence)

Antecedent: Also known as a “referent,” an antecedent is what the pronoun is referring to when used in a sentence.

Example: Larry (antecedent) wanted to wash his car, so he (pronoun) decided to buy soap.

(In the above sentence, Larry is the antecedent because it is what the pronoun he is referring to in the sentence).

So, what does that make an intensive pronoun? Well, “pronoun” is in the name, so intensive pronouns are actually just extensions of pronouns in a way. As a matter of execution, we use them as emphasis in a sentence.

Let’s provide a quick definition and an example:

Intensive Pronoun: A pronoun form that re-emphasizes a noun or pronoun after the use of a pronoun.

Example: He himself was going to buy the soap at the store.

(Himself is the intensive pronoun in the above sentence).

Other examples include myself, yourself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, and themselves.


Use intensive pronouns when you want to add emphasis in a sentence. It can add drama to your fiction story or hammer home a point in your nonfiction article!