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Lesson 2.1

Indefinite Pronouns

Los pronombres indefinidos
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American male
British female
British male
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Indefinite pronouns are used to make reference to unspecified people, things, places or quantities; as such they are called “indefinite”. We have already seen some of the indefinite pronouns related to quantity in the lesson on quantifiers. Below you will find a list of indefinite pronouns with an explanation of their meaning, rules of use (Singular or Plural) and an example.

Indefinite pronouns are used to make reference to unspecified people, things, places or quantities; as such they are called “indefinite”. We have already seen some of the indefinite pronouns related to quantity in the lesson on quantifiers. Below you will find a list of indefinite pronouns with an explanation of their meaning, rules of use (Singular or Plural) and an example.

S = singular
P = plural

Pronoun/Explanation S P Example
  all
the whole or entire amount
x x   You ate all the cookies!
  another
one more in addition to one or more of the same kind
x   Another glass of wine please.
  any
an undetermined number or amount
x x   Is there any milk?
  anybody
  anyone

any person at all (non-specific)
x   Is there anyone home?
  anything
any such thing (non-specific)
x   It’s so dark, I can’t see anything.
  anywhere
at, in or to any place or point (non-specific)
x   We can go anywhere you want.
  both
one as well as the other (2)
x   Both of my children speak French.
  each
every one of two or more entities considered separately
x   Each of them is different.
  either
one and/or the other of two
x   I’m happy to see either movie.
  enough
sufficient; equal to what is needed
x   There is never enough time.
  every
including each entity in a group or series
x   Every student failed the exam.
  everybody
  everyone
every person, all persons
x   Is everybody/everyone here?
  everything
all
x   How’s everything? Everything is fine.
  everywhere
in or to every place
x   The water spilled everywhere.
  few
a small, but indefinite number; not many
x   He has few friends.
  fewer
less than; a smaller number; not as many
x   There are fewer students this year.
  less
smaller in amount or number; not so much
x   There is less work this year.
  little
a small, but indefinite quantity
x   There is little to do here.
  many
a large, but indefinite quantity
x   She has many books to read.
  more
greater in amount, number or size
x x   There is more work this year.
  most
almost all; the majority of; greatest in amount or degree
x x   It rains most of the time here.
  much
a large, but indefinite quantity
x   We don’t have much money.
  neither
not one or the other of two entities
x   Neither of us speaks Spanish.
  nobody
  no one
no person
x   Nobody/No one was in class today.
  none
not any; no amount or part of something
x x   None of the children wanted to answer the question.
  nothing
not anything; not a thing
x   There is nothing in the fridge.
  nowhere
not in or at any place
x   He has nowhere to stay.
  one
that person or thing; people in general; any person
x   One never knows what the future will bring.
  other
used to refer to an entity that has not been mentioned; different or separate from the entity already mentioned
x   The other class has more students.
  others
plural form of “other”
x   The others are going to a concert tonight.
  several
more than two, but not very many
x   There are several movies playing.
  some
an unspecified, but limited quantity
x x   There are some dogs in the park.
  somebody
  someone
an unspecified person
x   Somebody/someone is in the bathroom.
  something
an unspecified thing
x   I have something in my eye.
  somewhere
an unspecified place
x   Right now it is raining somewhere.
  such
that kind or type of person or thing
x x   He is such a nice man.
  they
used to refer to people in general or to an unspecified group of people
x   They say this is the best restaurant in town.
  you
used to refer to any person or to people in general
x   You never know.

Grammatical Rules

1. The singular form of the verb (third person) is used with singular indefinite pronouns.

Examples:

 Somebody is at the door.
 Everybody loves chocolate.
 Nothing was ever the same.
 Is there anywhere you want to go?

2. The rules regulating the uses of the indefinite pronouns that are compounds of “some”, “any” and “no” are the same as the rules of use for these quantifiers (“some”, “any” and “no”) when used alone. “Some” and its compounds are used in affirmative and interrogative sentences; “any” and its compounds are used in negative and interrogative sentences; and “no” and its compounds are used only in affirmative sentences (with a negative meaning). For more information, see the lesson on quantifiers.

2. The rules regulating the uses of the indefinite pronouns that are compounds of “some”, “any” and “no” are the same as the rules of use for these quantifiers (“some”, “any” and “no”) when used alone. “Some” and its compounds are used in affirmative and interrogative sentences; “any” and its compounds are used in negative and interrogative sentences; and “no” and its compounds are used only in affirmative sentences (with a negative meaning). For more information, see the lesson on quantifiers.

Examples:

 There is something on the floor.
 Would you like something to drink?
 There isn’t anybody home.
 Is there anything I can do to help?
 Nobody wants to work today.

3. When we make reference to an indefinite pronoun (singular or plural), we generally use the plural pronoun.

Examples:

 Everyone is here already. They have been waiting for you.
 Somebody left their jacket. It’s so cold outside, I’m sure they will be back for it soon.

4. We can use the saxon genitive with indefinite pronouns to indicate possession.

Example:

 Is this anyone’s seat?
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