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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.


I don't understand very well when I may use nobody, anybody or somebody? 

Hello memecobas,
I think the answer to your question is on this page!  Take another look at the information here and the examples, and if you have any specific questions about particular uses of any of the indefinite pronouns then please post them and we'll be happy to answer.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Why do we use a singular verb after an indefinite pronoun. I got this question because we use a plural pronoun when we are referring back to an indefinite pronoun as mentioned in the lesson? Is it a rule in the language?

Hello Gamaya,
Thank you for an interesting question.  I'm afraid I can't explain why the language works like this but I can confirm that you understand it correctly.  The indefinite pronouns take a singular verb, but we use a plural pronoun to refer back.  It's just one of those little quirks that all language throw up from time to time, I'm afraid.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter. 

I scored 50%. what does it mean?

Hello John adrian,
It means you have half the answers right and half wrong.  The exercise is a learning tool, not a test, so study the grammar information again and then try the exercise once more to see if you can get a better score.
Good luck!
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter.
How may are we use these scores? 

Hello Finanschi,
If you read Peter's comment carefully, it answers your question. You can use them to compare your scores if you do the exercise more than once.
Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

why the answer for question 1 is anybody and not somebody?
also same for question no 8 it's somebody and not everyone ?
Thanks alot