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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

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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

Hi again hawa100,

'will' and 'would are used differently, so in most cases you cannot exchange them without changing the meaning. Please see our will or would page for an explanation.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
I would like to know the difference between indefinite pronoun and distributive pronoun.
Thank you in advance for the help.

Hello hawa100,

Indefinite pronouns do not identify people or things specifically but in general and non-specific terms. They include words like everyone, everybody, everything, no-one, nobody, nothing, anyone, anybody, anything, someone and so on.

Distributive pronouns refer to members of a group separately and not collectively. They include each, any, either, neither and others.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Sir for the answer. I have seen the difference now.

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,

Peter

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,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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