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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 Tayobuss1,

Are you asking why 'somebody' is used with 'save' in one sentence and with 'saves' in the other? 'Somebody save me!' is a kind of imperative or command, whereas 'Somebody saves my life' is a present simple form.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lots dear Teachers,
you have cleared all my doubt on indefinite pronoun.

Hi sir,

The Statement Everybody loves Sally is given but i slightly confuse that everybody is the Plural so it should be Everybody love Sally.

Please reply my assumption is correct or not

Regards
Prathap

Hi Prathap8826,

The answer to this is on the page:

We use a singular verb after an indefinite pronoun

Although 'everybody' refers to many people, it is an indefinite pronoun and these have singular verbs.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Full marks ^^

i got full marks...:)

Hello everyone !
I haven't uderstood exactly when use somebody/someone and anybody/anyone. Maybe the first is used in affirmative sentences and the second in questions and in negative clauses ?
If it is so, why can I say : 1.Anybody can do that; 2.Buy anything you like.
Is it the same in those sentences change anybody and anything with somebody and something ??
Thank you in advance.
Regards.

Hello Fulgur,

It can be a useful rule of thumb to say 'some' is used in affirmative sentences and 'any' is used in interrogative or negative statements. However, it is important to remember that this is a rule of thumb which is not applicable in many situations. The true rule is that we use 'some' when we expect that the item is present or sufficient; we use 'any' when we expect that the item is not present or that there is not enough of it. For example:

Have you got some money? - I expect the answer 'yes'.

Have you got any money? - I think the answer may be 'no'.

However, remember that these are patterns of use - tendencies - not fixed rules.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Having fun.....

Hi,

Can You tell me the differences between "somebody" and "anybody", please ? Between "someone" and "anyone" ? Between "something" and "anything" ?

Thank you

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