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.

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Hello Finanschi,

If you read Peter's comment carefully, it answers your question. You can use them to compare your scores if you do the exercise more than once.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by amna7994 on Tue, 09/07/2013 - 09:32

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hello,

why the answer for question 1 is anybody and not somebody?

also same for question no 8 it's somebody and not everyone ?

 

Thanks alot

Emna

Hi Emna,

I see what you mean about the exercise. It's not very clear, so we've replaced it with two better exercises. Hope you like them!

To answer your question, in number 8, everyone sounds a bit strange to me because if everyone really knew who committed this crime, I'd just say "everyone knows who committed this crime", because there's no doubt and therefore no need to say "must know".

When the sentence says "somebody must know who committed this crime" it means the speaker supposes that there is somebody, but isn't certain.

I hope this helps you.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nomi221 on Tue, 25/06/2013 - 10:55

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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 .

Kindly tell me some thing about Singular Verb ! What are Singular Verbs?

And What are plural Pronouns ? 

please must help me. M waiting >

Thanks

Hello Nomi221,

After indefinite pronouns we use a verb in the third person singular (he/she/it) and not the third person plural (they):

> Everybody likes (not 'like') Paul.

> Someone lives (not live) there.

The explanation means this when it says 'a singular verb'.

 

A plural pronoun in this case means they rather than he/she/it.

> Everybody likes Paul.  They invite (not 'invites') him to all their parties.

> Someone lives there.  They have (not 'has) the light on in the evening.

 

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kraiemohamed on Mon, 10/06/2013 - 15:27

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hello everybody, thank you for the amazing lesson!

Submitted by toibuonme on Fri, 07/06/2013 - 13:57

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i'm terrible.

My score is 24%.

please help me!

Submitted by semantica on Tue, 02/04/2013 - 17:04

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I can't believe it! I have 100% in this exercise. Thank you for the possibility to improve our English. This site is amazing!

Submitted by rihana on Sun, 24/03/2013 - 08:16

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Hi,I was little confused bt still i scored 100% in first attempt

Submitted by ShaiqGenius on Fri, 01/03/2013 - 11:57

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I like this. My score is 50%

Submitted by j_amarildo on Fri, 25/01/2013 - 20:21

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Very good thiss class, but I neet to know what is the difference between somebody and anybody, someone and anyone and between something and anyfing.

I'll be grateful for a reply.

Hello j_amarildo!

When you use anybody, anyone, anything, the scope is not limited. But with somebody, someone, something, you are referring to something particular.

 

Let me explain it with an example.

 

Can anybody lend me some money?

indicates that you believe every person in the audience to be kind enough to lend you some money. 

 

Can somebody lend me some money?

indicates that you don't believe every person in the audience to be kind enough to lend you some money. You believe that a few might help you.

 

Submitted by lncjojo on Mon, 31/12/2012 - 17:14

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got 100%! And wondered that there could be two possible answers for some questions.

Submitted by Advocaat on Fri, 05/10/2012 - 16:08

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In the second question, I think there are two possible answers:

1. There's nothing about that man.

2. There's something about that man.

Is that true?

Thanks in advance for answering.

Submitted by Aisy on Thu, 26/04/2012 - 07:35

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what is the different between somebody and someone?

So what does it mean when i say:

1. Somebody told me that Bali is beautiful island.

2. Someone told me that Bali is beautiful island.

Submitted by Annie_Pham on Thu, 26/04/2012 - 05:21

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Hello everyone, I'm a newbie here.May I ask the difference between -one & -body?

Submitted by kuribayashi_@ … on Sun, 15/01/2012 - 19:58

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Hello everybody! Thanks for the lessons.