Grammar Lesson: Indefinite Pronouns

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Dec 14, 2010

The singular indefinite pronouns are anybody, anyone, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, and something. As subjects, these pronouns agree in number with singular verbs.

      Everyone in these seats is invited to the party.
      Neither of the contestants has to leave the studio.
      Everything in those rooms was ready to be moved.

The plural indefinite pronouns are both, few, many, and several. As subjects, these four pronouns agree in number with plural verbs.

      Both of the staircases need painting.
      Many of the brochures contain useful information.
      Several of the candidates in this year's election are debating in the auditorium.

As subjects, some pronouns (all, any, more, most, none, and some) can be singular or plural depending on the object of the preposition in the prepositional phrases that follow them.

      All of the pizza was eaten. (All is a singular subject because pizza, the object of the preposition, is singular. Thus, a singular verb, was, is required.)
      All of the pizzas were eaten. (All is a plural subject because pizzas, the object of the preposition, is plural. Thus, a plural verb, were, is required.)
      Most of the project is completed.
      Most of the projects are completed.
      More of the room needs brighter colors.
      More of the rooms need brighter colors.
      None of this paper is stained.
      None of these papers are stained.

Activity 1- Indefinite Pronouns and Agreement

Underline the subject in each sentence, and then circle the correct verb. On the line before each sentence, write S if the subject and verb are singular, or P if the subject and verb are plural.

  1. Most of the inspected cars (pass, passes) the examination.
  2. None of these dishes (has, have) been washed yet.
  3. Everyone in these cabins (is, are) going to the assembly.
  4. (Do, Does) both of these tigers eat that much each day?
  5. Several of us (want, wants) to be included in the plans.
  6. (Has, Have) someone forgotten to sign the register this afternoon?
  7. Each of the stockings (was, were) near the fireplace.
  8. (Was, Were) all of the pastries delivered on time?
  9. More of this speech (is, are) getting better each time you practice it.
  10. Nothing on these tables (is, are) mine.
  11. A few of the turtles (swim, swims) in the pond back here.
  12. (Has, Have) several of these engineers surveyed the grounds?
  13. Neither of these essays (was, were) completed on time.
  14. Both of these girls (has, have) musical talent.
  15. No one on the grade level (read, reads) these kinds of articles.
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