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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.


In the test there is sentence: I don’t have anything to say to him.
Can I say: I have nothing to say to him?
Thanks in advance

Hello myumla,

Yes, that is correct and means the same thing – good work!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Which of the following sentences is correct?
write names of each of the boys
write name of each of the boy.


Hello naghmairam,

It looks as if you're talking about more than one name and more than one boy, so the first version is better. Though you should say 'write the names of each of the boys'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

hi ,
the example, 'All the family came, but no one else.'
I am a bit confused about this , is "but no one else " for emphasis ?

Hello mandyye1991,

'but no one else' tells us that no other people came – only family. So it's not emphasis, it's clarifying who came and who did not. This sentence could be showing that we expect the person we are talking to thinks that other people (in addition to our family) came. It's difficult to say for sure without the context, but that at least is one context when it would be commonly used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


I have a question. In the first exercise "indefinite pronouns 1" the fisrt sentence said "I went to the Bakers’ house this morning but there was _______ home.

What is the reason for not using the preposition "at" before home? I went to the Bakers’ house this morning but there was nobody at home.

Hello viviancgc,

The word "home' can function as an adverb or as a noun.

When used as an adverb there is no preposition needed: go home, stay home, return home etc.

When used as a noun a preposition is needed: stay at home, go to your home, return to your home etc.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

A teacher once taught me that the difference between someone and somebody is, we use someone when we know the person but do not want to say exactly who they are, and we use somebody when we do not know exactly who they are.
Is that correct ?

Hello Salie108,

I've never heard that. 'someone' is generally considered more formal than 'somebody', but there is no difference in meaning between them as far as I know. You might want to look at the Cambridge Dictionary entry on 'someone' and 'somebody' to see another source on this.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team