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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 everyone : I have a long question
I read in a Cambridge dictionary that Noun is a pronoun means not on
but We don’t use none where we mean no one or nobody:

They had a wonderful time and luckily no one was injured.

Not: … and luckily none was injured.

I can't understand why.
aren't ( no one , nobody) pronoun also ? why we can't replace the pronoun Noun by it?
And what's the deference between no on & not one
is this rule apply with all indefinite pronoun or (one & body ) only? I mean can we use none where we mean nothing or everybody?

second question: what's the deference between ( Non & No)

Thaaaank alot

Hello nkmg,

I can't comment on what the dictionary said but I can give you some explanation of the use of 'none' and 'nobody'.

'None' means 'not (a single) one' and generally refers to a part of a group - in this use it is often followed by 'of' (none of the people...), while 'nobody' simple means zero people. 'None' can be used for people and things, but as a pronoun there must be a referent - in other words, there must be something which it refers to. For example, we can say this:

There were 30 people on the bus when it crashed but fortunately none are injured.

Here the pronoun 'none' refers to '350 people'. In this sentence we can also use 'nobody' or 'no-one'. However, we could not use 'none' if there was not a reference to the people before it.

When we refer to a group, as in the example above, 'none' has a plural verb. If we replace it with 'nobody' then the verb is singular, as indefinite pronouns always have a singular verb:

There were 30 people on the bus when it crashed but fortunately nobody is injured.

Thus we can use 'none' when we mean 'nobody'. However, remember that 'none' needs to refer to something else. This is the reason you cannot use 'none' in your example - because there is nothing for it to refer to in the sentence:

They had a wonderful time and luckily no one was injured.


By contrast, 'nobody' can be used without such reference:

There was nobody in the house.

Note that when 'none' refers to a part of a whole it has a singular verb:

None of the cake has been eaten.

But when it refers to multiple items it is plural:

None of the cakes have been eaten.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

As far as your second question goes, I'm afraid it's too general for us to answer here. We can't list all the possible uses of common forms such as 'no' and 'non' - it would require a huge essay to do so! If you have a concrete example then we'll be happy to try to answer but please remember that we can only answer short concrete question in the comments sections, not provide written lessons!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thaaank so much

Good afternoon !
In task 2 in the sentence '' If anybody has any questions , * very welcome to come and ask me" why the correct answer is ''they're '' and not ''he's''?

Thank you

Hello Irene93,

We use 'they' when we do not know the gender of the person. It is another way to say 'he or she'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

>Somebody stole my wallet yesterday. They took it from my desk.

Why they? The only one person got it, so why plural used?

Hello sluge,

When we do not know the gender of the person we can say 'he or she' (with a singular verb) or 'they' (with a plural verb). Both of these are correct even when we are talking about only one person, and 'they' is the most common choice of the two.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I'm confused with the meanings of 'Everybody' and 'Everyone' How can I use them each one? Are plural? Greetings from Venezuela.

Hello adeljva,

These are used interchangeably, as are anybody/anyone, nobody/no-one etc.

As the information on this page says, indefinite pronouns take a singular verb ('everybody is...' not 'everybody are...'). However, they mean 'all people' and so they have a plural meaning, even though the verb is grammatically singular.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot Peter M!