Indefinite Pronouns – Examples & Rules

Pronouns are words used to replace nouns in a sentence. It makes a sentence short and avoids any redundancy of names. In most cases, it is very clear who or what we are referring to, even when we use a pronoun. But indefinite pronouns are different.

Indefinite pronouns are a classification of pronouns, and even they replace nouns in a sentence. But they do not replace a particular noun. They are indefinite in nature and hence, the name.

Let us understand in detail where indefinite pronouns stand correct and how are they used.

What are Indefinite pronouns?

Indefinite pronouns are basically pronouns that refer to a noun, a person, or a thing, without any specific definition. They do not replace any particular noun and instead indicate a vague or indefinite someone or something.

Indefinite pronouns are somebody, anybody, no one, everything, something, someone, some, every, none, etc.

Let us understand with some basic examples;

  • I saw someone standing in the corridor.
  • She is calling everyone on the balcony.
  • Everything seems easy as long as it is somebody else doing it.
  • He doesn’t know anything about cooking.
  • I think some of them are coming tonight.

We can see that indefinite pronouns replace nouns, but they do not take the place of a particular noun. They are used for an indefinite or vague audience.

How to use indefinite pronouns?

Indefinite pronouns are usually used when we are referring to a larger and unknown audience, or to refer to someone or something that is not specific, which means indefinite.

Some Indefinite pronouns can be entirely singular, and some can be entirely plural. But some can be both, depending on the context. Let us understand them in detail.

Singular indefinite pronouns

Some indefinite pronouns might seem like they are plural, but they are actually singular. A singular indefinite pronoun is always accompanied by a singular verb, and there needs to be a singular agreement with the personal pronouns used in the sentence.

Also, it is an important point to remember that they end with “body” or “one”.
Some of the singular indefinite pronouns are anyone, everybody, anybody, someone, somebody, no one, and everyone.

Let us look at some sentences;

  • Can anyone of you bring me the notes?
  • Somebody gives me a pen.
  • Everybody seems sick.
  • Anybody can join the society in our college.

Plural indefinite pronouns

Similarly, like singular pronouns, while using a plural indefinite pronoun, it needs to be accompanied with plural verbs, and there should be a plural agreement between the nouns and pronouns.

But plural indefinite pronouns do not end with “one” or “body”.

Some of the plural indefinite pronouns are few, many, several, all, etc.

Let us look at some sentences;

  • All of you are invited.
  • I want all the students to leave right now.
  • Few people attended the meeting today.

Singular/plural indefinite pronouns

Some indefinite pronouns can act as both singular and plural pronouns. They depend on the context they are used in. And accordingly, they can be changed and applied.

Indefinite pronouns like all, some, most, none, belong to this category. And whether they are singular or plural can be recognized by noticing their verb agreements.

We can see indefinite pronouns can be a little tricky. It is important to understand its concept properly and remember the above-mentioned points to avoid any errors.

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