Posted by: episystechpubs | March 5, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Indefinite Pronouns

The pronoun subtype of the day is indefinite pronouns. These refer to unspecified people, things, or groups.

Here is a partial list, from The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage:

Indefinite Pronouns
all many one
another more other
both most several
each much some
either neither such
few none


· Both were elected, but only one was chosen.

· Some were happy; all were entertained.

As you can see, when these words function as indefinite pronouns, you are left with a pretty vague sentence. Outside of imprecision, these words cause confusion because they’re often used as adjectives. Remember this so you can tell how the word is being used: indefinite pronouns can stand alone. If the word is being used as an adjective, it will be coupled with the noun it modifies.


· Indefinite pronoun: Oliver would like some.

· Modifying adjective: Oliver would like some porridge. (In this case, some is modifying porridge.)

· Indefinite pronoun: She has a few left.

· Modifying adjective: She has a few jellybeans left. (In this case, few is modifying jellybeans.)

And here are a few more indefinite pronouns that are compound words:

Indefinite Pronouns: Compounds
-body -one -thing
any anybody anyone anything
every everybody everyone everything
no nobody no one nothing
some somebody someone something

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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