Examples of Indefinite Pronouns: Definition and Usage

sentence examples showing an indefinite pronoun replacing a noun
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No one likes uncertainty. When you ask “What’s for lunch?” the last thing you want to hear is “Something.” (Is it a sandwich? Is it soup? Just say what it is!) But uncertainty has its place in grammar, and indefinite pronouns — like the pronoun something — are just what you want when you’re not feeling sure about a noun.

What Is an Indefinite Pronoun?

An indefinite pronoun doesn’t refer to a specific noun (person, place, thing, or idea). Like all pronouns, indefinite pronouns replace a noun in a sentence — but only when the noun (or the amount of nouns) is unknown. 

  • Can anyone help me? (Anyone could be your dad, a neighbor, a teacher, and so on.)
  • Nothing is good enough for Roger. (Nothing replaces any unknown noun that Roger doesn't like.)
  • I'll eat either for breakfast. (Either replaces two options that we don't know.)
  • Both are great choices to wear tonight. (Both could mean dresses, jackets, outfits, shirts, and so on.)
  • We've picked out several and will show you tomorrow. (Several could mean any number of items, but we don't know what they are.)

Singular Indefinite Pronoun Examples

Any indefinite pronoun ending in -one or -body is considered singular because it addresses each person within a group. Notice that in this list of indefinite pronouns, you can replace each one with a singular noun (such as Anne or my dad) and it would still make sense.

Singular Indefinite Pronoun

Example Sentence

another

Margie has two dogs and is looking for another.

anybody

Does anybody want to buy my bike?

anyone

Anyone can play this game.

anything

I didn’t see anything.

each

Each brought a plated dish to dinner.

either

Either would be a good choice.

everybody

Have you talked to everybody?

everyone

Everyone practiced for the dance recital.

everything

I lost everything in the fire.

little

Little is known about the bank robber.

much

No one has told me much.

neither

Neither will admit that they stole the candy.

nobody

Nobody saw the police arrive.

no one

Tell no one what you've seen today.

nothing

Nothing matters more than love.

one

One could call the news station.

somebody

Can somebody help me?

someone

See if someone can bring chips to the party.

something

Something doesn’t feel right.

Why Aren’t “Everybody” and “Everyone” Plural?

It’s easy to see why somebody and someone are singular indefinite pronouns, since they’re addressing one person. So shouldn’t everyone and everybody be plural since they address more than one person?

Nope — everybody and everyone are singular. They end in -body and -one, so they require singular verbs.

  • Everyone is going to the party. 
  • Everybody admires you.

Try saying “Everyone are going to the party.” It doesn’t make sense because everyone is singular. However, if you replace everyone with a plural noun (My friends are going to the party”) you do use a plural verb.

Plural Indefinite Pronoun Examples

So if all those pronouns are singular, would you ever use a plural verb with an indefinite pronoun? Yes, if you're replacing a plural noun or a plural pronoun, such as we or they. Plural indefinite pronouns include:

Plural Indefinite Pronoun

Example Sentence

both

We need both to unlock the vault.

few

Few came to the banquet.

fewer

Fewer voted this year than ever.

many

Many expressed concern about the new law.

others

We love to travel, but others prefer to stay home.

several

Several raised their hands in support.

Examples of Indefinite Pronouns That Can Be Singular or Plural

Some indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural, depending on the rest of the sentence and the noun they're replacing. 

When they replace a singular noun, use a singular verb — and when they replace a plural noun, use a plural verb. 

Indefinite Pronoun

Example Sentence

all (singular)

All is forgiven.

all (plural)

All are welcome.

any (singular)

Is there any left for me?

any (plural)

Did any stay to help?

more (singular)

More is necessary in this document.

more (plural)

More are swimming in the lake.

most (singular)

Most seems accurate in the news story.

most (plural)

Most know about the surprise.

none (singular)

None of the pizza was eaten.

none (plural)

None are available for several months.

some (singular)

Some has been finished already.

some (plural)

Some do anything for attention.

such (singular)

Such is life.

such (plural)

Such are known as troublemakers.

Indefinite Pronouns vs. Determiners

While indefinite pronouns replace nouns, that’s not the only way many of these words work. You can use many as determiners — words that modify a noun — by placing them in front of a noun instead.

  • Some don’t believe in ghosts. (Some functions as an indefinite pronoun.)
  • Some people don’t believe in ghosts. (Some modifies people.)
  • All are accounted for. (All functions as an indefinite pronoun.)
  • All students are accounted for. (All modifies students.)
  • Each told me a different story. (Each functions as an indefinite pronoun.)
  • Each child told me a different story. (Each modifies child.)

Indefinite Pronoun Quiz

Can you choose the correct verb in these indefinite pronoun example sentences?

  1. Some (believe, believes) that modern medicine is too expensive.
  2. I asked, but nobody (want, wants) to help with the party.
  3. More (ask, asks) about extra credit toward the end of the school year.
  4. See if someone (know, knows) how to contact the manager.
  5. All (is, are) understandable with time.
  6. We can’t decide between the cake and cookies; both (look, looks) good.
  7. One person is bringing chips, and another (is, are) bringing soda.
  8. Charles doesn’t like dogs because many (bark, barks) very loudly.

Answer Key for Indefinite Pronoun Quiz

Some may be easier than others — but many can be trickier than you thought.

  1. Some (believe, believes) that modern medicine is too expensive.
  2. I asked, but nobody (want, wants) to help with the party.
  3. More (ask, asks) about extra credit toward the end of the school year.
  4. See if someone (know, knows) how to contact the manager.
  5. All (is, are) understandable with time.
  6. We can’t decide between the cake and cookies; both (look, looks) good.
  7. One person is bringing chips, and another (is, are) bringing soda.
  8. Charles doesn’t like dogs because many (bark, barks) very loudly.