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Indefinite pronouns

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


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 got 8 out 8 for that one.

I have the first Total score is 8 out of 8 (100%), SecondTotal score is 3 out of 6 (50%)

When we refer back to an noun or pronoun by object pronoun. Suppose there is word "it" what does it refer back to if they are two objects in the sentence? Suppose there is word "they" what does it refer back to if they are two plural nouns in the sentence?

Hello kingston123,

This really depends on the construction of the particular sentence. If you provide concrete examples of what you have in mind (actual sentences) then we'll be happy to explain.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

This really depends on the construction of the particular sentence. -> Why did you use the word "really" here? Is it optional?

Hello kingston123,

'Really' adds a sense of 'honestly' or 'to be honest' to this sentence. You could omit it if you wished.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I think most of non native speakers are confused because of unnecessary words like really etc. That is why I liked to omit.Thank you very much.

Hi dear, my question is , if we are saying ( is / eats ) to everybody or nobody as below examples ;
Everybody (is) saying that ... , Nobody in my family (eats) meat .

So why ; If anybody has any questions, ((they're)) very welcome to come and ask me. ???!

Thank You

Hello NourSfieh,

Traditionally, the personal pronoun 'he' was used in a sentence like this because 'he' could refer to a male or female. But in recent times, many people have come to consider using 'he' inappropriate, because it seems to refer only to males. For this reason, nowadays many people use 'they' when they don't know whether the person they are talking about is male or female. In this case, although 'they' refers to one person, we still use the plural verb with it (even though it really only refers to one person).

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

My question is about the use of "someone/anyone" in interrogative sentences. The general rule is that one must use "anyone" instead of "someone" in most of the questions. Why is "someone" used in the following phrase and not "anyone"?
"Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Matthew 11:3)

Two more sentences from the US educational document:
1. Can anyone other than me or my parent view my education records?
2. Can I ask someone else to view my education record for me?
Why "anyone" in one question and "someone" in the other?

Could you please tell me if this is a correct form of the question:
"Do you have individual lessons or attend them with someone else?"