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Indefinite Pronoun

Phonetics:

ɪnˈdefɪnət

ˈprəʊnaʊn

Pronunciation:

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Indefinite Pronouns Decoded: Definition, Examples, and Essential Grammar

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

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Definition of Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronoun definition can be referred to those pronouns that do not exactly refer to any specific person, thing, or number. For example, pronouns like anybody, something, everyone, everything, are indefinite pronouns that can be used to refer to anything and anybody.

Types of Indefinite Pronouns

Singular Indefinite Pronouns

Singular indefinite pronouns are used in sentences that include the compounds of -body, -one and -thing, along with the words one, another, each, either, neither and much while sentence structuring.

Examples:

  1. Nobody likes liver for supper during summers. 
  2. Everyone sings in the shower. 
  3. Something smells funny to me.

Plural Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are non-specific words that are used in sentences that can refer to any thing and any body like someone, others, several or none. Some of these pronouns are always singular or always plural and depending on the context, the usage is changed. 

Examples:

  1. Sania used both her hands to knead the dough.
  2. Why are you looking for others?
  3. Several people come to the church during the festival.

Indefinite Pronouns Ending in “-body” and “-one”

When writing a sentence, using indefinite pronouns that end in -one makes it always singular. These words include anyone, everyone, someone, and one which are used in sentences. Indefinite pronouns that end in -body are always singular in usage and these words include anybody, somebody, nobody.

Examples: 

  1. Anybody can help at the church during Christmas.
  2. Someone needs to throw the bread away before it starts smelling foul.

Indefinite Pronouns Ending in “-thing”

We can use the indefinite pronouns to refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are and not be specific about it. We use pronouns ending in -thing when referring to things

Examples:

  1. Something in the fridge is smelling really bad.
  2. Something needs to be done regarding the plumbing of the building.

Indefinite Pronouns Expressing Quantity

Indefinite pronouns that refer to amount or number and include all, much, many, some, few, little, each, either, neither, etc are used to express the quantity.

Examples: 

  1. Few people came to the concert
  2. Many birds fly over the lake during the mornings. 

Indefinite Pronouns Expressing Ownership

Possessive pronouns are used to describe ownership and words like each, either, mine, another, are often used to describe them. 

Example:

  1. It is his ruler, so you must ask him before using it.
  2. Another guy came to sit in his spot in the morning.
  3. Either of the men can help in drilling a hole in the metal sheet. 

 

Indefinite pronoun example

  • Anyone can join the bookclub.
  • Somebody forgot their phone in the trail room of the store
  • Everyone deserves a chance to rectify themselves in a crisis.
  • Nobody knows how to get to the obscure location.

Usage Tips and Best Practices

While writing sentences, one can use indefinite pronouns to refer to people or things without saying exactly who or what they are, which makes them indefinite. We can also use pronouns ending in -body or -one while referring to people, and pronouns ending in -thing while referring to things

Examples:

  1.   Everybody enjoyed the concert held at the stadium.
  2. I opened the door but there was no one at home.

The most common error many people make with indefinite pronouns while using them in sentences, is using a singular verb form with a plural pronoun. The plural indefinite pronouns include only four words: ‘both’, ‘few’, ‘many’, and ‘several’, but using them with singular verb can cause the sentence to be grammatically incorrect.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Indefinite pronouns are used when no one or nothing specific is mentioned.

  2. They can be singular or plural while verb usage.

  3. They can be used as subject or object in any sentence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I identify an indefinite pronoun in a sentence?

Indefinite pronouns are those that do not specifically identify what exactly it is referring to.

What is the function of an indefinite pronoun in English grammar?

Indefinite pronouns are used in sentences to refer to people or things, without actually or exactly referring to who they are.

Can an indefinite pronoun be used as a subject or object in a sentence?

Yes, they can be used as a subject or object in a sentence.

Are there any specific rules or guidelines for using indefinite pronouns?

For when people are referred to, the word ends with a – body or – one, and when things are taken into consideration,then they end with – thing, or -things.

How do indefinite pronouns affect subject-verb agreement in sentences?

If the subject is singular, then the verbs and the pronouns used need to be singular, and vice versa if the subject is plural.

Can indefinite pronouns be modified by adjectives?

Indefinite pronouns are derived by adjectives so when the nouns are dropped and the adjective remains, then they become the substitutions for the nouns.

Are there any indefinite pronouns that have both singular and plural forms?

Yes, pronouns like all, any, more, most, can be singular or plural, depending on their usage.

What are some common errors or pitfalls to avoid when using indefinite pronouns?

 Indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural, and depending on the verb usage, most errors occur here.

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