Indefinite Pronouns



Indefinite Pronouns :



One : Singular

Ones : Plural (one of Indefinite Pronouns)

Used instead of a noun or noun phrase that describes a single thing or person.

Have you any book on racing? I'd like to borrow one. (one = a book on racing)

1. This one is smaller.
2. This officer is the one who gives the orders.
3. This horse is the one that has given us some trouble.
4. One should do one's duty.
5. One should wash oneself regularly.
6. One hardly knows what to do.
7. One should not be always watchful of one's good name.
8. One must not talk of one's own success.
9. One must not talk of one's own success.
10. One should use one's potential to its maximum.
11. One's family may be a nuisance at times.
12. One cannot succeed unless he works hard. (American English)
13. One cannot succeed unless one works hard.
14. I'd like a big one with cream on.
15. I'd like one with cream on.
16. One of my friends is a cinestar.

Note : Do not use his or her when subject is ONE.



None : (of) Not any (or) no amount or part.

1. Have you any money? No. None at all.
2. None of your foolishness. Please.
3. None of their promises have been kept.
4. None of the telephones is working.
5. None of the telephones are working.
6. Even an old cycle is better than none at all.
7. The mystery guest on the show is none other than the Chief Minister himself.
8. None of us are ready yet.
9. None of our workshops is in working condition.

Note : When NONE OF is followed by a plural noun it usually takes a plural verb in ordinary speech. But in formal writing, a singular verb is used.

1. None of his stories is well-known.
2. None but a fool will believe these things.



They : These people, animals or things

1. My friends are here. They visit every week.

2. I say they're putting up taxes again. (They : Government Agencies)

3. They (= people in general) say, the minister has lost heavily.



All : (of) - Every one or everything (or) the whole number, quantity or amount

1. I brought all of them.

2. We invited all of the members but none did attend.

3. They invited all and sundry to the party. (All and Sundry = all types of people)

4. It was all he could do.

5. No. I am not at all tired. (At all = in anyway)

6. I don't agree with you at all.

Usage : ALL or ALL OF can be used before nouns with a determiner - such , the, those, his.

1. All of the family members are attending the wedding.
2. All of the students prepare well for the examination.

('All' is singular with uncountable nouns)

1. All of the money is spent.
2. It is plural with plural nouns.
3. All of the Parliament members have gone.
4. All of my friends like to smoke.
5. All of you are not wrong.
6. I've read all of the books written by Nehru.



Some : a little, a few, a certain or small amount

She asked for money and I gave her some.

Some of : Certain ones or a certain part but not all

Some of her speeches are quite exciting.

Some : Some people

Some say, he is rich. But I am not sure.
Some are born great.



Somebody : Some one but no particular person or known person

1. There's somebody on the line for you.
2. Somebody has parked his bike in front of the office.
3. Somebody has gone out just now.



Nobody : (Noun) A person of no importance

Nobody : (Pronoun) - No person - no one

1. I knocked on the door but nobody answered.
2. I wanted to be a millionaire.
3. I am tired of being a nobody.

(a person of no importance)



Few : (determiner - Pronoun) - (used without a to show the smallness of a number) (or) not many, but not enough

1. She has many friends.
2. Very few of my friends are rich but on few she can depend.



a few : (no comparative) (used with a or the)

She bought a few eggs and some milk.

(a few : adjective)

Of these only a few are good.

(a few : Pronoun)

Not a few : quite a large number.

Quite a few of us are getting married.



Many : (Pronoun) - (determiner) a large number (of) more than several but less than most

several < many < most

1. Not many of the students will take part in the competition.
2. Many are born rich. But few become great.
3. Many are not known to me in this world.



Any : (determiner - Pronoun) every, (of more than two), no matter which - (one of Indefinite Pronouns)

1. You can use this printer with any of the computers.
2. I never seem to get any.
3. We didn't see any of them before.



Other : (determiner - Pronoun) the second of two (or) the remaining one of a set (or) what is left as well as the mentioned

1. She has holding the wheel with one hand in the car and taking the book with the other (one).

2. One or other of us will be attending the wedding party.
3. Be good to others.
4. Did you ask anybody to go there?
5. What is everybody's business is nobody's business.

All these pronouns, one, none, they, all, some, somebody, nobody, few, many & other refer to persons or things in a general way, but do not refer to any person or thing in particular.

They are called Indefinite Pronouns.

These words can be used as Adjectives also.

1. I will be a millionaire one day.
2. The officer is a man of few words.
3. Some honey was spilt.



Every-one : every person.

1. If everyone has come, we'll begin.
2. Everyone but Joe arrived on time.

Usage : Everyone, every, anyone, no one, and some one (also everybody) always take a singular verb - but they are often followed by a plural pronoun - except in very formal speech and writing.

1. Has everyone finished their work?
2. Anyone can become rich if they try.
3. Someone has left the door open (haven't they?)



Each : (determiner) (Pronoun) - (one of Indefinite Pronouns)

Every single one of two or more things or people considered separately

1. All for each and each for all….
2. She had a ring on each of her fingers.
3. She cut the fruit into pieces and gave one to each of the children.
4. There are four rooms, each with its own furniture.
5. It costs USD $ 50 for the first day and then USD $ 40 for each of the additional days.

Note: Each is used to denote everyone of a number of persons or things taken singly.

Each is a pronoun, denoting everyone of a number, separately considered.

'Each' - is used also as a "determiner" with a singular countable noun.

Each day is becoming worse than the one before.

1. Each brother & Each sister are correct expressions.
2. Each my sister & each my brother are not a correct expressions.

1. Each of my friends gave me prizes separately.
2. I have invited each of my friends in turn.

Note : EACH OF is used with a plural noun.

I had some beautiful dreams yesterday night. Each was more wonderful than the other.

Each of us have our own way of doing things.

Note :

US & HAVE are plural.
EACH refers to US.

My friends have each married beautiful cinema actresses.

EACH can be singular or plural in the following sentences.

But they are not pronouns.

1. Each teacher explains in their own way.
2. Each teacher explains it in his own way.



Either : one or the other (or) one of two (or) each

1. There is coffee or tea. You can have either.
2. I lived both in Chennai and Bangalore. But I don't like either very much.
3. Take either of the vehicles.

Note : When either and neither are used as pronouns and followed by a plural noun they take a singular verb.

1. Is either of the workshops in operation yet?
2. Either of these roads leads to the minister's house.



Neither : (determiner - Pronoun) - not one and not the other of the two - (one of Indefinite Pronouns)

1. Neither of the roads lead to the railway station.
2. Will you have coffee or tea, please?
3. "Neither. Thanks."
4. Neither of my sons are tidy.
5. Neither of them can understand.
6. "Which one do you want?"
7. "Neither is any good.”
8. Neither of the accusations is true.

Study the following sentences.

(1) Each of the students received prize.
(2) Each of these books cost ten rupees.
(3) I bought each of these fruits for one rupee.
(4) These pupils each received a reward.
(5) These fruits cost each five rupees.
(6) These fruits cost five rupees each.
(7) I got these fruits for one rupee each.

Note : See the position EACH in these sentences.

(1) The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister hate each other.
(2) They are cheating one another.
(3) His wives quarreled with each other.
(4) The officials gave evidence against one another.

Note : When speaking about two persons or things, we use each other. "One another" is used when speaking about more than two things or persons.

This rule is not strictly observed.

Indefinite Pronouns



Indefinite Pronouns To HOME PAGE

The Grammar Index


Indefinite Pronouns - Indefinite Pronouns - Indefinite Pronouns