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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

Hello Winticha_winwin,

I'm not completely sure that I understand either of those sentences, as both have errors. Do you mean something like "There is no one who could help you." Perhaps you are wondering if no one should take a singular or plural verb - if so, the answer is that it takes a singular verb.

If I've misunderstood, please ask again!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,
I want to clarify why we say... Does anybody else have it ? Why we used have ? Why not we use has because with anybody we use has ..... Don't we?

Thanks in advance ....

Hello Affa,

In present simple questions we use the base form of the verb (also called the infinitve without 'to'), which is 'have' not 'has'.

You can find more information about forming questions in English on this page.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Very very clear! It's a really helpful training!
Thanks teachers!

what kind of a sentence is this " Chris was a hero, everyone said so". Is everyone said so a phrase or the main clause? Thanks guys

Is the sentence correct?
1. Anyone can do it if he try?
should we use he or they?

Hello HARENDRA SINGH BISHT,

Usually in English we use 'they' if we do not know the gender of the person.  As the subject here is 'anyone' it could be a man or a woman, and so 'they' is better.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for a useful lesson. I have a question about when we use "anybody, anyone, anything". Can I use them as a Subject in Interrogative clause or Object in Negative clause? Could you explain me and give me some examples? Thanks

Hello Nguyen Cat,

Yes, in fact anyone/body and anything are often used as the subject of a question (e.g. does anyone know what time it is?) and as objects in negative sentences (e.g. I didn't see anything).

If you have a question about some specific examples, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I'm sorry, i need the answer which one is correct answer, something new or new something? Need your help.....

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