Pronouns replace nouns in sentences. For example, if we said, "Alex went to the movies and Alex got popcorn," that would sound somewhat repetitive. It's much easier to read, "Alex went to the movies and he got popcorn." The pronoun he replaces the noun Alex.
Examples of Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite pronouns, on the other hand, take the place of a noun, but not a particular noun. In other words, the pronoun is there, but "Alex" is not.
Below, you'll find examples of indefinite pronouns to help make this idea even clearer. We'll examine them according to their function as a plural or singular indefinite pronoun.
Plural Indefinite Pronouns
One of the ways to distinguish between plural and singular indefinite pronouns is to check the verb usage. Plural indefinite pronouns always require a plural verb. Meanwhile, singular indefinite pronouns always require a singular verb. Let's take a look.
- All are welcome to come to the birthday party tonight.
- Some will do anything to gain the attention of others.
- Some have the power to coax others to do what they want, while others lack the power to do anything but follow.
- After I painted my walls a deep shade of purple and installed jet black carpet, some may consider my room too gloomy.
- After the story of the plane crash hit the news, many called for information on loved ones aboard the flight.
- Very few came to visit the crabby old woman on the corner, leaving many to wonder if anyone (singular) cared about her at all.
- Few came to the wedding after the bride had a meltdown and lashed out at her family and friends.
- Some just don't know when to quit while they are ahead.
- Mary wanted some, but I do not have any.
- All were late to the party.
Singular Indefinite Pronouns
Some of the pronouns listed below are quite tricky. Everyone seems like it might be plural, right? Yet, any pronoun ending in -one is considered singular. Likewise, any pronoun ending in -body (like "everybody") is considered singular.
- Anyone can play the game as long as they (plural) follow the rules.
- At the Thanksgiving dinner, each brought a plated dish to make the meal complete.
- Everyone knows it is impolite to point at someone.
- Does anybody have a clue where the dog went?
- Everyone had a great time at the Christmas party.
- No one came forward to admit the crime, so the whole class was punished.
- Although it could have happened to anyone, it happened to me.
- Marie told nobody the secrets that went on at her house.
- Someone called to tell me the horrible news.
- I really just needed some time away from everyone.
- When I looked around the house, I did not see anything out of the ordinary.
- During my trip to the mall, I did not see anyone I knew.
- I knocked on the door, but there wasn't anybody there.
- Normally during the holidays, everyone leaves campus.
- Someone walked past the window and shouted.
- Anyone in their right mind would know better than to do that.
- Michael walked in and handed the piece of paper to someone.
- Everyone wandered aimlessly down the street wondering what would become of the spaceships that occupied the otherwise clear blue sky.
- Anyone would have agreed the woman in the black dress was gorgeous.
- Sometimes I wonder why anyone shops at this store.
- Everyone enjoyed the food and the company.
- If anyone cared about her, they certainly had an odd way of showing it.
- Does anybody know a good place where I can go to get my nails done?
- Anyone can plainly see that she was asking for trouble.
- Anybody who came along would know something awful has happened here.
- Everyone at the wedding could see how happy he made her.
- I needed to see if anyone was interested in dating my cousin.
- Someone really needs to come and mow my lawn.
- One of the great things about that cabin is that everything is included.
- Is anyone available to babysit for me on Tuesday?
- After the festivities, everyone was invited back to the house for the after-party.
- My parents always told me that anything is possible.
- Anyone who has ever lived in the city will never take for granted the peace of the country.
- I was told not to worry and that everything would be taken care of.
- Someone whispered in my ear, but when I turned around, there was not anybody there.
- Someone should sue the pants off that guy!
- Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.
- Someone drank all the soda.
- Can anyone tell me why it is raining again?
- No one likes to eat vegetables.
- Someone will clean up the kitchen.
- No one was home at the neighbor's.
- Everybody loves to eat chocolate.
- Everyone brought canned goods to the charity drive.
Pronouns tend to be fairly clear. It's easily understood who "he" or "she" is referring to. But, indefinite pronouns liven up the party.
In fact, the indefinite pronouns "all," "any," "more," "most," "none," and "some," can be plural or singular, depending on how they're used in the sentence. A great way to get to the bottom of it is to see if the associated verb is plural or singular.
Indeed, pronouns are an eclectic bunch. For a deeper dive, here's more on the various types of pronouns. There, you'll enjoy the wonders of personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and more.