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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


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


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.


Hello herry wahyudi,

It's not possible for me to be sure without seeing the context, but 'something new' is much more likely that 'new something'.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

"I’ve had flu for the past three weeks"
Why used here "have and had" both in same sentence ?

Hello Amit,

This is an example of the present perfect, which is used to describe actions or states which began in the past and are not yet finished, or which have a result now.  It is formed with [have/has + past participle].  Here, the main verb is 'have' (past participle 'had'), so we have [have + had].

You can find more on the present perfect, and an exercise to practise it, here.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Good evening! I want to ask one question: Why in example with indefinite pronoun as; If anybody has any questions They`re very welcome to come and ask me; we used plural form?

Hello Evgeniya Das,

As is explained above, when we refer back to an indefinite pronoun we normally use a plural pronoun - in this case, that plural pronoun is they. The personal pronoun they (or them) is often used in English when the gender of a person is not known.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

When indefinite pronoun (eg somebody, anybody) is with -s as possessive. does It mean singular form???

Hi Wagisha,

somebody and anybody are always singular in meaning, including in their possessive forms somebody's and anybody's. Be careful: sometimes the 's in somebody's or anybody's is not the possessive form but rather a contraction of the verb is (e.g. "somebody is").

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

hi I have a question somebody stole my wallet yesterday ... took it from my desk.why we use they here? or question 2 If anybody has any questions, * very welcome to come and ask me. why we use they here we use has at the first
? thanks.

Hi zahraahmdi,

'They' is used as a pronoun when we do not know if we are referring to a man or a woman.  It effectively means 'he or she' and is followed by a plural verb.  The indefinite pronouns (someone, anybody etc) are always followed by singular verbs.  That is why you can have 'has' following 'anybody', but a plural verb following 'they' in the same sentence.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
Please is there any different between somebody, sometimes, anybody from some body, some times, any body?