What are Indefinite Pronouns? (with Examples)


What are Indefinite Pronouns? (with Examples)

An indefinite pronoun refers to a non-specific person or thing.

The most common ones are: all, any, anyone, anything, each, everybody, everyone, everything, few, many, nobody, none, one, several, some, somebody, and someone.

Like all pronouns, an indefinite pronoun is a substitute for a noun.

Examples of Indefinite Pronouns

Here are some examples of indefinite pronouns (shaded):

  • A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read. (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

  • Of those who say nothing, few are silent. (Thomas Neill)

  • Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else. (Will Rogers, 1879-1935)

  • Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money. (Arthur Miller, 1915-2005)

  • I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to. (Elvis Presley, 1935-1977)

The Difference between Indefinite Pronouns and Indefinite Adjectives

When a word like all, any, anyone, etc. is used as an adjective, it is known as an indefinite adjective. (In the examples below, the indefinite pronouns are shaded.)

  • All in the lobby must remain seated.
  • (This is an indefinite pronoun.)
  • All personnel in the lobby must remain seated.
  • (This is an indefinite adjective. It modifies personnel.)

  • Please take some to Mrs Chandler.
  • (indefinite pronoun)
  • Please take some lemons to Mrs Chandler.
  • (This is an indefinite adjective. It modifies lemons.)

Indefinite Pronouns Singular or Plural?

The biggest issue with indefinite pronouns is determining whether they are singular or plural. Here is a list:
Singular Indefinite PronounsPlural Indefinite Pronouns Indefinite Pronouns Which Can be Singular or Plural
Another
Anybody
Anyone
Anything
Each
Either
Enough
Everybody
Everyone
Everything
Less
Little
Much
Neither
Nobody
No-one
Nothing
One
Other
Somebody
Someone
Something
Both
Few
Fewer
Many
Others
Several
All
Any
More
Most
None
Some
Such

Read more about treating indefinite pronouns as singular or plural.



See also:

Take a test on indefinite pronouns
What are pronouns?
The different types of pronouns
demonstrative pronouns
Interrogative pronouns
Personal pronouns
Possessive pronouns
Reciprocal pronouns
Relative pronouns
Reflexive pronouns
Glossary of grammatical terms
 
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