Indefinite Pronouns Examples
Indefinite pronouns are placed in the same location as a noun would go in the sentence.
|I would like to go to Brazil this summer.||I would like to go anywhere this summer.|
|Sylvia gave me this book.||Someone gave me this book.|
|I don’t want to date Paul.||I don’t want date anyone.|
|I bought new shoes and a pair of jeans at the mall.||I bought everything at the mall.|
In affirmative sentences, indefinite pronouns using some are used to describe an indefinite quantity, the indefinite pronouns with every are used to describe a complete quantity, and the pronouns with no are used to describe an absence. Indefinite pronouns with no are often used in affirmative sentences with a negative meaning, but these are nevertheless not negative sentences because they are lacking the word not.
- Everyone is sleeping in my bed.
- Someone is sleeping in my bed.
- No one is sleeping in my bed.
- I gave everything to Sally.
- He saw something in the garden.
- There is nothing to eat.
- I looked everywhere for my keys.
- Keith is looking for somewhere to live.
- There is nowhere as beautiful as Paris.
Any and the indefinite pronouns formed with it can also be used in affirmative sentences with a meaning that is close to every: whichever person, whichever place, whichever thing, etc.
- They can choose anything from the menu.
- You may invite anybody you want to your birthday party.
- We can go anywhere you’d like this summer.
- He would give anything to get into Oxford.
- Fido would follow you anywhere.
Negative sentences can only be formed with the indefinite pronouns that include any.
- I don’t have anything to eat.
- She didn’t go anywhere last week.
- I can’t find anyone to come with me.
Many negative sentences that include an indefinite pronoun with any can be turned into affirmative sentences with a negative meaning by using an indefinite pronoun with no. However, there is a change in meaning with this transformation: the sentence that includes an indefinite pronoun with no is stronger, and can imply emotional content such as defensiveness, hopelessness, anger, etc.
- I don’t know anything about it. = neutral
- I know nothing about it. = defensive
- I don’t have anybody to talk to. = neutral
- I have nobody to talk to. = hopeless
- There wasn’t anything we could do. = neutral
- There was nothing we could do. = defensive/angry
Indefinite pronouns with every, some, and any can be used to form negative questions. These questions can usually be answered with a “yes” or a “no”
Pronouns formed with any and every are used to form true questions, while those with some generally imply a question to which we already know or suspect the answer.
- Is there anything to eat?
- Did you go anywhere last night?
- Is everyone here?
- Have you looked everywhere?
These questions can be turned in to false or rhetorical questions by making them negative. The speaker, when posing a question of this type, is expecting an answer of “no”.
- Isn’t there anything to eat?
- Didn’t you go anywhere last night?
- Isn’t everyone here?
- Haven’t you looked everywhere?
Some and pronouns formed with it is only used in questions to which we think we already know the answer, or questions which are not true questions (invitations, requests, etc.) The person asking these questions is expecting an answer of “Yes”.
- Are you looking for someone?
- Have you lost something?
- Are you going somewhere?
- Could somebody help me, please? = request
- Would you like to go somewhere this weekend? = invitation
These questions can be made even more definite if they are made negative. In this case, the speaker is absolutely certain he will receive the answer “Yes”.
- Aren’t you looking for someone?
- Haven’t you lost something?
- Aren’t you going somewhere?
- Couldn’t somebody help me, please?
- Wouldn’t you like to go somewhere this weekend?
· All in the lobby must remain seated. (This is an indefinite pronoun.)
· All personnel in the lobby must remain seated. (This is an indefinite adjective. It modifies personnel.)
Indefinite pronouns do not refer to a specific person, place, or thing. In English, there is a particular group of indefinite pronouns formed with a quantifier or distributive preceded by any, some, every and no.
Pronouns: somewhere, something and someone, anywhere, anything, anyone, no one, nowhere, nothing, everyone, everywhere, everything.
I called the office but _____________ answered.
There isn’t ______________ at home to answer the door.
Will __________ help me, please?
Can __________ help me?
What did you do? I didn’t do __________.
I’ve got _________ to tell you. Do you have a minute?
Sorry, I don’t understand __________ you’re saying.
Are you doing _______ this weekend?
I heard ______ can be done to help the case.
The phone is _________ in the living room.
Martha knows ___________ about computers.
It’s so crowded. There are people ___________.
Would you like ________ to eat?
Peter has _________ to live. He’s homeless.
I can’t find my keys ___________.
A parent will do _______ to save their child.
I lost _________ in the fire.
He won’t go _________ he can’t find vegan food.
Not __________ loves chocolate.
You can sit ________ you want.
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