Unit 2.1

Indefinite Pronouns

Pronouns

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Introduction

Pronouns are words used to avoid the repetition of a noun.

An indefinite pronoun does not refer to any specific person, thing or amount.

{see Indefinite Pronouns: Something and Nothing, A2 level}

Form

Indefinite pronouns can be both subjects and objects:

  • When they are subjects, they appear before the verb;
  • When they are objects, they appear after the verb.

While some of them can be only singular or only plural, some of them can be used in both ways, depending on the context.

We find them in three forms:

Affirmative

  • Anybody/Anything/Anywhere;
  • Everybody/Everything/Everywhere;
  • Nobody/Nothing/Nowhere*;
  • Somebody/Something/Somewhere: when subjects, they go before the verb.

*We cannot use them when a sentence starts with no. In this case, we use the any– structure.

Negative

  •  Anybody/Anything/Anywhere.

Interrogative

    • Anybody/Anything/Anywhere;
    • Everybody/Everything/Everywhere;
  • Something* (offerings)

*In this case something can be only the object.

Example

Affirmative

  • If anybody wants the medium-seized T-shirt of the band, they can still buy it.
  • If you need to use anything, just let me know.
  • We can go anywhere you want to buy sport clothes. I don’t have any preference.
  • Today everybody wore summer clothes.
  • You have written everything in the catalogue.
  • Everywhere in this shop is full of winter clothes.
  •  Nobody wore a party suit last night.
  • Nothing matches with this long skirt.
  • There is nowhere we can find wedding dresses.
  • Somebody bought this portrait in dollars.
  • I need to find something creative to do.
  • I want to sit somewhere closer to the emergency exit.

Negative

  • I don’t need anybody to help me with the poster.
  • They don’t have anything that they need for the exhibition.
  • You are not going anywhere in that short skirt.

Interrogative

  • Is anybody paying by cheque?
  • Did they tell you anything about the discount?
  • Did you go anywhere to exchange your money?
  • Did everybody wore flat shoes at the picnic yesterday?
  • Is everything written in the catalogue?
  • Are there sales everywhere?
  • Can I offer you something to drink?
  • Do you need to find something pretty to wear for tonight?
  • Would you like me to bring you something from the catalogue?

Use

Indefinite pronouns any, every, no and some refer to:

– People: when the word ends with -body or -one;
– Objects: when the word ends with -thing*;
– Places: when the word ends with -where.

*{See Indefinite Pronouns: Something and Nothing, A2 level}.

We use:

  • Anybody/Anyone/Anything/Anywhere to refer to unspecified people, things or places;
  • Everybody/Everyone/Everything/Everywhere to indicate a total number of people, things or places;
  • Nobody/No one/Nothing/Nowhere to indicate that people, things or places are absent. They are already negative statements, so we need to use them in positive sentences to express negative meanings;
  • Somebody/Someone/Something/Somewhere to refer to unspecified people, things or places.

NOTE: We can put -one instead of –body, and this does not affect the meaning of the sentence: anyone, everyone, no one, someone

Summary

Indefinite pronouns do not refer to any specific person, thing or amount.

When indefinite pronouns appear before the verb, they are subjects; when they appear after the verb, they are objects.

The indefinite pronouns are any, every, no and some and they can have different endings. The ending -body or -one refer to people, the ending -thing refers to objects and the ending -where refers to places. They can be found in the following forms: – Affirmative (all of them). – Negative (just any). – Interrogative (any, every and some).

For example:
“He doesn’t have anything to wear.” = Anything is used after not in negative sentences.
Everybody arrived late.” = We can use everybody as the subject in affirmative sentences.
Nobody arrived on time.” = Nobody is a negative statement, therefore we cannot use it in positive sentences.
Someone paid by cheque.” = We can use somebody as a subject in affirmative sentences.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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