You may already know that he, she, it, and they are pronouns — words that replace nouns in a sentence. But can you name any indefinite pronoun examples? Chances are, you use one every day (and there's an example right there)!
Examples of Indefinite Pronouns: Definition and Different Uses
What Is an Indefinite Pronoun?
An indefinite pronoun is exactly what it sounds like: a pronoun that's undefined. It replaces a noun in a sentence to show that the noun (or the amount of nouns) is unknown. Examples of indefinite pronouns in sentences include:
- 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.)
Notice that, like all pronouns, indefinite pronouns replace nouns instead of coming before them. If the sentence read "We've picked out several options," then "several" would be an adjective that describes "options", not a pronoun that replaces "options."
Singular Indefinite Pronoun Examples
Any indefinite pronoun ending in -one or -body is considered singular because it addresses each person within a group. But what about everybody and everyone? Shouldn't they be plural since they address more than one person?
Nope — everybody and everyone are singular. Don't agree? Try "Everyone is going to the party" vs. "Everyone are going to the party." Only the first one sounds correct because everyone is singular.
Other singular indefinite pronouns include:
Singular Indefinite Pronouns in Sentences
Take a look at these indefinite pronouns in different sentences. Notice that if you replace each one with a singular noun, it would still make sense.
- Margie has three dogs, so she's not looking for another.
- Does anybody have a clue where the dog went?
- Anyone can play the game.
- When I looked around the house, I did not see anything out of the ordinary.
- At Thanksgiving dinner, each brought a plated dish to make the meal complete.
- Let's try each one before deciding which to order.
- Either would be a good choice.
Everyone practiced for the dance recital.
- Everyone knows it is impolite to stare.
- Michaela lost everything when her house burned down.
- Little is known about the masked bank robber.
- I heard the news, but no one has told me much.
- Neither will admit that they stole the candy.
- Nobody saw the dog slip out the front door.
- Tell no one what you've seen today.
- Nothing matters more than getting an A on this test.
- One could call the news station and leave a tip.
- I can identify one of the suspects, but I've never seen the other.
- Somebody emailed me with a question about the carnival.
- Just ask someone to pick up paper plates for the party.
- Something doesn't feel right about this situation.
Plural Indefinite Pronouns in Sentences
When you're not sure who or what you're talking about, but you know that it's more than one, use plural indefinite pronouns. For example:
- Both are needed to unlock the vault.
- We invited everyone to the banquet, but few actually came.
- Fewer are enrolling in larger classes these days.
- Many have expressed interest in getting the old group together.
- I'd like to move past this issue, but others are still upset.
- Several hadn't even seen the movie before.
- Did you talk to both before speaking to me?
- Few came to the wedding after the bride had a meltdown.
- We've only seen some bears in the woods, and even fewer near the river.
- Unless you change the date, many will be unable to attend.
- Others insist that the new medicine is unsafe for children.
- Several have already offered to help with preparations.
Both Singular and Plural Indefinite Pronoun Examples
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Not so fast! Some indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural, depending on the rest of the sentence and the noun they're replacing. These pronouns include:
Singular and Plural Indefinite Pronouns in Sentences
It's not as tricky as it seems. When you use these pronouns as singular indefinite pronouns, the sentences look like this:
- All is understandable.
- Is any for me?
- More is necessary for you to qualify for this job.
- Most is recorded in this document.
- Why is none available yet?
- Some has been done, but there's more work to do.
- Such was expected from that behavior.
You can use the same pronouns to convey plurality in your sentence as well. For example:
- All are welcome to come to the birthday party tonight.
- Have any responded to your text?
- More are swimming in the lake over there.
- Most have been here for hours.
- None are left in the basement.
- Some do anything to gain the attention of others.
- Such are known as troublemakers in our community.
If any of these pronouns sound odd or incorrect to you, that's because their historical use may not match our modern conversational use. The next time you find yourself using these indefinite pronouns, you'll know how to conjugate them correctly!
Pronouns are an eclectic bunch. They help us vary our word choice and avoid repetition by replacing nouns, but we still need to use them carefully. Learn more about pronouns and how they improve your writing with: