Level: beginner

The indefinite pronouns 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 Daniel,

I'm afraid that we don't recommend specific books, but there are many good ones out there. If you do an internet search for something like  'best English grammar book', I'm sure you can find other learners' opinions on them and use their experience to help you choose one.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you!

I have a question regarding this sentence: Helena sent twenty job applications but * replied. Nobody/ Anybody.
Why can't we use the word 'anybody'? I thought both of them mean the same. Could you please explain me a little more about it. Thanks...

Hello Daniel_Rubira,

When we want to say 'not a single person' we can use 'anybody' in a negative sentence or 'nobody' in a positive sentence. For example:

There was nobody there.

There wasn't anybody there.

However, when we use 'anybody' in a positive sentence it has a different meaning: 'someone, it doesn't matter who'. For example:

Can anybody come to the party?

No, only people with invitations.

Therefore, in your example the correct word is 'nobody'

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi
Just wondering with the last example 'that's eggs, peas and chips', should the 'that's' be replaced with 'those are' since 'eggs, peas and chips' are plural noun while that and is are only used to refer singular noun?

Hello Hugong,

You could say 'there are' but in colloquial English the (perhaps non-standard) form 'that's' is used for both singular and plural in such contexts.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

first time ever in history i got 100%

Hello sir,

May i ask? Whats the difference between "cant agree with you more" with "cant agree agree more with you"? Is 'more' an indefinite pronoun here?

I got confused when comparing with the idiom "cant be more happy". (Note that the position of 'more' here is before the adjective, whilst the other is at the end of the sentence.

Hello haziqrazlii,

There is no difference between the two alternatives (though there should be only one 'agree', not two as you wrote in the second sentence). The word order is more fixed in other examples, as you note.

The word 'more' here is an adverb, not a pronoun. It describes the verb 'agree' in your first example and modifies the adjective 'happy' in the second.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Good afternoon,
I do have a question concerning the use of indefinite pronouns. How could I form a sentence using 'someone'? For example: Someone in here likes to eat ice-cream? or Does someone in here like to eat ice-cream? Which one should I use?
Thank you.

Hello Bruno,

'someone' is usually used in affirmative sentences and 'anyone' is more common in questions or negative sentences. For example:

Someone needs to answer the phone.
Did anyone answer the phone?
He doesn't want to talk to anyone.

Your first question lacks the auxiliary verb 'do/does', which is needed in questions in the present simple.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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