As is evident, Pronouns that not definite in meaning are termed as Indefinite Pronouns.
· They replace Nouns which are not evident or particular.
· Pronouns are there but which Nouns they replace is blurred.
· They do not refer to any specific person, animal,place or thing.
· They are used in a vague sense.
· They may be Singular/ plural since as Subject in a sentence, the corresponding word must match with the number.
They belong to two categories:
1. First category includes Pronouns that refer to a non-specific Noun.
E.g.: anybody, anyone, anything
Nobody, no one, nothing
Somebody, someone, something
Everybody, everyone, everything
Example: Anything is possible, if you exert.
Nobody is indispensable.
Somebody must stand and take charge.
Everybody must be made aware of the consequences.
2. Second category are those that replace a specific Noun which was previously mentioned (antecedent) or understandable from the words that follow the Indefinite Pronoun.
e.g: All, any, each, few, neither, some, another, both, either, one , several.
Example: Many are planning to host a get-together. (Understood in the context mentioned earlier)
Would you like to try some of our dresses? (The fact that ‘some’ refers to dresses is evident from the latter half of the sentence)
Please note that the same words if followed by a Noun function as Adjectives.
e.g.: Many students boycotted the exam.
3. Indefinite Pronouns can also be categorized as Singular and Plural ones :
e.g. : Each of them has his own temperament.
Someone is expected today.
Several of the students went out together.
Most of the policies are obsolete.
· However, some Indefinite Pronouns may either be Singular or Plural.
e.g.: all, any, since, any, either, none, some, more, most
Since if these words are followed by prepositional phrase, the pronoun must agree in number with the object of the Preposition while the Verb must agree with the Antecedent.
e.g.: Most of the work is finished. (Singular)
Most of the books are out of date. (Plural)
Some more examples of Indefinite Pronouns:
1. All are welcome to the concert tonight.
2. Everyone knows it is impolite to gossip.
3. Anyone can play this game.
4. No one was at home that day.
5. Someone must have flicked it away.
Curious case of None
Though many people opine that none, supposedly derived from the word no one should be used in the Singular sense only, yet None can be both Singular and Plural, as is in use from the earliest days of the language and has since then seeped into the modern terminology to the extent that lines have been blurred as to what is most in vogue today ;
None being used in the Singular sense or Plural sense, as is evident in the below mentioned examples:
None is so deaf as he will not hear. ( Singular)
None of them were friends in the truest sense. (Plural)
None of the alternatives look feasible. (Plural)