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.
- 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 Pronouns||Plural Indefinite Pronouns|| Indefinite Pronouns Which Can be Singular or Plural|
Read more about treating indefinite pronouns as singular or plural.
What are pronouns?
The different types of pronouns
Glossary of grammatical terms