Indefinite Pronouns

What are Indefinite Pronouns?

Indefinite pronouns are words that refer to unspecified things, people, or places. They do not refer to a specific person, place, or object. Examples of indefinite pronouns include someone, anyone, something, nothing, and everyone.

Indefinite pronouns can take the place of nouns in sentences and can be used in nearly all types of sentences, including questions and exclamations. Understanding indefinite pronouns can help writers make sure they are communicating their intended meaning effectively.

Using indefinite pronouns correctly can act as an important tool when crafting engaging written works.

Indefinite Pronouns Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using an Indefinite Pronoun phrase will help communication become clearer and easier. With these four rules firmly entrenched in one’s grammar skillset, any English speaker can properly construct sentences with ease!

AgreeFirst, indefinite pronouns must always agree with their verb forms in number; singular indefinite pronouns take singular verbs and plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs.
PluralitySecond, indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural based on the context of the sentence; when an indefinite pronoun refers to a single person or thing then it should be singular and when it refers to more than one person or thing then it should be plural.
ModifyThird, indefinite pronouns can also act as adjectives and modify nouns or other indefinite pronouns – for example, “anything else” would have the indefinite pronoun “anything” acting as an adjective modifying the noun “else”.
SingularityFinally, indefinite pronouns like nobody and everyone always take a singular verb form.
Indefinite Pronouns Rules and Explanations Table
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Examples of Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are words used to refer to unspecified people, places, or things. Examples of indefinite pronouns include:

  • Everyone
  • Anybody
  • Nothing
  • Somebody
  • Anywhere

They can also include more specific words like:

  • Each
  • Either
  • Neither
  • One
  • Some
  • All

Indefinite pronouns allow sentences to become more succinct by referring to larger groups with one word rather than having to specify each singular person or thing. For example instead of saying “The teacher gave every student an A” you can say “The teacher gave them all an A.” Since indefinite pronouns do not take modifiers or agree in number with other words in a sentence it can be tricky to use them correctly but once mastered indefinite pronouns can add complexity and accuracy to writing.

Indefinite Pronouns Exercises with Answers


  • _ was excited about the party.
  • Does _ have the answer?
  • She wanted to buy _ books!
  • _ of these books are damaged.
  • _ book was left.


  • Everybody was excited about the party.
  • Does anyone have the answer?
  • She wanted to buy both books!
  • Some of these books are damaged.
  • One book was left.

Indefinite Pronouns List

AllFor a collective of items.
AnyoneFor a collective of people.
EitherFor a choice of something.
EverybodyFor a group of people.
NeitherUsed to indicate none of each.
SeveralCan be used to indicate more than one.
OnlyTo indicate less than expected.
Indefinite Pronouns List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

ESL students and English language learners alike should always strive to be attentive when studying indefinite pronouns. Indefinite pronouns can be tricky because they do not refer to any specific person, place, or thing. Their meanings are often abstract and used in various ways depending on the context.

It is important for learners to pay close attention when learning about indefinite pronouns in order to better understand how certain phrases and sentences fit together correctly. Doing so will make them much more equipped to communicate properly with others in an English-speaking environment.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand pronouns and antecedents and demonstrative pronouns.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English learners often make mistakes with indefinite pronouns.

A common mistake is to use indefinite pronouns in a singular form when they should be used in the plural form, and vice versa. For example, using “they” instead of “it” or using “it” instead of “they”. Other mistakes include using indefinite pronouns like “anyone” or “somebody” in negative sentences, which should be replaced with negatives such as nobody and nothing.

Lastly, indefinite pronouns are never possessive and should never have apostrophes; the words their, ours, and mine must be used instead when referring to something belonging to someone or everyone. With a bit of practice and by reviewing the correct usage now and then, indefinite pronoun mistakes can easily be avoided.

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct pronoun usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong pronouns and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking English, you would use a pronoun that reflects the subject in question. Keep context in mind when selecting your pronouns.

2. Lack of Nouns

Why it Happens

The easiest mistake is leaving out pronouns when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Pronouns join words to a person, place, or thing – for example, ‘the cat meowed’ or ‘I love pasta’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your pronouns remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘woman’ to ‘girl’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which pronouns to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many pronouns can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

While indefinite pronouns such as anybody, nobody, and something can often be useful when writing, they can also leave readers with questions or misunderstandings.

  • To help avoid common mistakes when using indefinite pronouns, make sure to clearly define what that indefinite pronoun is referring to in the sentence.
  • Additionally, it’s important to double-check sentences before submitting them and make sure all indefinite pronouns are used clearly.
  • By taking the extra time and care necessary to use indefinite pronouns in a precise way, you can ensure that your writing will be easy for readers to understand and comprehend.
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Learning Indefinite Pronouns Strategies and Best Practices

Learning indefinite pronouns can sometimes feel like a challenge, but with the right strategies and best practices, you can master indefinite pronouns quickly and easily.

A great way to begin is to create a table or chart with indefinite pronoun examples of each type in one column and their associated definitions in another column. Once you have this groundwork established, applying indefinite pronouns correctly will become much easier. Other best practices for indefinite pronouns include being able to identify indefinite pronouns in sentences, being aware of the pronoun-antecedent agreement, and taking time to practice indefinite pronoun exercises from textbooks or online sources. Following these steps will give you an excellent foundation for mastering indefinite pronouns. Additionally, keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use pronouns correctly is to study a list of nouns and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to nouns hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and more accurately.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of pronoun should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every pronoun you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the pronouns exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the pronouns they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Indefinite Pronouns Frequently Asked Questions

Indefinite pronouns are words that can be used when we don’t know or don’t need to mention precisely who or what we are referring to. These pronouns could refer to an indefinite number of people, places, and things.

Examples of indefinite pronouns include: anyone, anything, everybody, each, either, neither, and one. Understanding indefinite pronouns can help us use language more accurately and effectively. They are especially useful for making indefinite statements that still have meaning without referring to a specific person or thing.

These functional types of nouns belong to a family of pronouns with a range of variations. This includes interrogative pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, singular pronouns, existential pronouns, masculine pronouns, collective pronouns, compound pronouns, definite pronouns, English pronouns, Indefinite pronoun subjects, Gender-neutral, and indefinite pronouns. Paying attention to the formative properties of these major types will make for a more cohesive noun phrase.

Personal pronouns refer to either the speaker or other people or things already mentioned in a sentence. They include I, me, my, you, he, she, it, we, us, and them.

On the other hand, indefinite pronouns do not refer to any specific person or thing. These indefinite pronouns include some words like anybody/anyone/anything; everyone/everybody; nobody/no one; and one. Indefinite pronouns are mainly used to make indefinite references to nonspecific situations and ideas that can’t be easily determined. So while both personal pronouns and indefinite pronouns establish references between elements of a sentence, indefinite pronouns serve a much broader purpose by providing generality to conversations and written works.

Indefinite pronouns are those words that replace nouns without specifying whom or what they refer to. They generally refer to people, places, and things in an indefinite way. Examples of indefinite pronouns have a range of variations including everyone, anything, everything, either, neither, and one.

On the other hand, distributive pronouns are those words that refer to individuals or objects as separate entities rather than as a whole. Common examples of distributive pronouns include each, every, and either.

The main difference between indefinite and distributive pronouns is that indefinite pronouns convey the meaning of no specified person or item while distributive pronouns convey the meaning of individual items taken from a group.

‘Everyone’ is an indefinite pronoun. It is neither a noun nor a pronoun by itself but it can be used as both. Indefinite pronouns refer to nonspecific people, things, or locations without specifying a precise amount, for example: everyone, somebody, anything, and nowhere.

They are usually singular in form but can be either singular or plural depending on the context. For instance, ‘Everyone has their own opinion’ uses ‘everyone’ as a singular indefinite pronoun whereas ‘Everyone seems to agree’ uses it as a plural indefinite pronoun.

When trying to decide which of the indefinite pronouns someone or have is correct, it is important to consider the context. There is a range of theoretical approaches to using these indefinite expressions. Someone is always used as a singular indefinite pronoun that refers to an unspecified person or people.

On the other hand, have is always used in a plural form and can refer to indefinite pronouns such as everybody, no one, anyone, and everyone.

Additionally, when referring to indefinite pronouns in the past tense, the verb changes completely due to subject-verb agreement rules. For instance, “everyone has” becomes “everyone had”. Thus, when writing sentences involving indefinite pronouns it is important to consider both context and verb tense in order to determine if someone or have should be used.

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