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Indefinite pronouns

Level: beginner

Some of the indefinite pronouns in English are:

anybody everybody nobody somebody
anyone everyone no one someone
anything everything nothing something

We use indefinite pronouns to refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are. We use pronouns ending in -body or -one for people, and pronouns ending in -thing for things:

Everybody enjoyed the concert.
I opened the door but there was no one at home.
It was a very clear day. We could see everything.

Indefinite pronouns 1

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We use a singular verb after an indefinite pronoun:

Everybody loves Sally.
Everything was ready for the party.

When we refer back to an indefinite pronoun, we normally use a plural pronoun:

Everybody enjoyed the concert. They stood up and clapped.
I will tell somebody that dinner is ready. They have been waiting a long time.

Be careful!

In negative clauses, we use pronouns with no-, not pronouns with any-:

Nobody came. (NOT Anybody didn't come.)

We do not use another negative in a clause with nobody, no one or nothing:

Nobody came. (NOT Nobody didn't come.)
Nothing happened. (NOT Nothing didn't happen.)

Indefinite pronouns 2

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We can add 's to an indefinite pronoun to make a possessive:

They were staying in somebody's house.
Is this anybody's coat?

We use else after indefinite pronouns to refer to other people or things:

All the family came, but no one else.
If Michael can't come, we'll ask somebody else.
I think this is somebody else's coat.

Comments

Hi vietlam248,

We can use 'some' and 'any' with both countable and uncountable nouns:

I have some sugar.

I have some apples.

Do you have any sugar?

I don't have any apples.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you

Everyone is doing his/her or their assignment.
Please tell me which pronoun to use in correct English grammar.
Thanks

Hello Rajesh R,

The correct pronoun would be 'their'. 'Everyone' is a singular pronoun but when we do not know the gender of the person or people we use 'they' with a plural verb, even for individuals.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello dear,
I have a question on question tag.
One of the boys has finished his/one's task, hasn't one/ haven't they?
Thanks

Hello Rajesh R,

The correct for would be:

One of the boys has finished his task, hasn't he?

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello teachers,

If you don't mind, could you please explain me what the differences of between any- and some- are?

Best Regards,
Aye

Hello Aye,

In general, 'some-' is used in positive sentences and 'any-' is used in negative sentences. In most questions, when we don't if the thing or person we are talking about exists, we use 'any-', but if we do know it exists, we use 'some-'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!! What is the diference between anybody and anyone? When can i use each one?

Thank you!!

Hello yurifcc,

There is no difference in meaning. 'Anyone' is sometimes considered a little more formal.

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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