What is an Indefinite Pronoun? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:53 Why Use Indefinite Pronouns?
  • 1:26 Roles of Indefinite Pronouns
  • 2:19 Singular and Plural
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debbie Notari
When we are using a pronoun that is inclusive or non-specific, it is called an indefinite pronoun. In this lesson, we will further define indefinite pronouns and see how they are used in sentences.

Definition

An indefinite pronoun refers to an inclusive or non-specific pronoun in a sentence. Remember that pronouns take the place of nouns. They keep us from having to repeat proper nouns over and over. Words that fall into this category are: everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, each, one, much, nobody, no one, either, neither, anybody, anyone, any, all, most, some, none, more, both, several, few, and many.

It makes sense to call these pronouns indefinite because of their non-specific status. For instance, we could say, 'Anyone may come to the party.' In this sentence, we aren't saying who, specifically, may come to the party. The indefinite pronoun 'anyone' allows the invitation to be wide open.

Why Use Indefinite Pronouns?

Indefinite pronouns are really essential to both writing and speaking. They allow us to refer to people in a general way. They also allow us to refer to large groups of people, places, or things without having to mention exact names, which would be too awkward. For example, a manual that directs a student council on what to do if a treasurer resigns may say, 'If the treasurer resigns, anybody on the council can nominate a new treasurer.' Saying that anybody can nominate a new treasurer is much easier than listing all of the positions or names of the members of the council!

Roles of Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns can take on different roles in a sentence. First, they can serve as the subject of a sentence. Let's look at a few examples:

  1. No one liked the geometry class.
  2. Anybody could have stolen the teacher's pencil sharpener.
  3. Neither girl was happy with the prom dress she chose.

Indefinite pronouns can also be used as objects in a sentence. Let's look at a few examples of this:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support