What is an Indefinite Pronoun? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Definition
  • 0:53 Why Use Indefinite Pronouns?
  • 1:26 Roles of Indefinite Pronouns
  • 2:19 Singular and Plural
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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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.


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:

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