Grammar Lesson: Indefinite Pronouns (page 2)
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.
- Most of the inspected cars (pass, passes) the examination.
- None of these dishes (has, have) been washed yet.
- Everyone in these cabins (is, are) going to the assembly.
- (Do, Does) both of these tigers eat that much each day?
- Several of us (want, wants) to be included in the plans.
- (Has, Have) someone forgotten to sign the register this afternoon?
- Each of the stockings (was, were) near the fireplace.
- (Was, Were) all of the pastries delivered on time?
- More of this speech (is, are) getting better each time you practice it.
- Nothing on these tables (is, are) mine.
- A few of the turtles (swim, swims) in the pond back here.
- (Has, Have) several of these engineers surveyed the grounds?
- Neither of these essays (was, were) completed on time.
- Both of these girls (has, have) musical talent.
- No one on the grade level (read, reads) these kinds of articles.
Activity 2- Writing With Indefinite Pronouns
Now is the time to use indefinite pronouns in your writing. Think carefully about the agreement rules before you compose each sentence. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
- Use neither as the sentence's subject.
- Use few as the sentence's subject.
- Use most as a singular subject.
- Use most as a plural subject.
- Use someone as the sentence's subject.
- Use some as a singular subject.
- Use some as a plural subject.
- Use any as the singular subject of a sentence that asks a question.
- Use somebody as the sentence's subject.
- Use all as a plural subject of a sentence that asks a question.
- Indefinite Pronouns and Agreement
(The number—singular or plural—is listed first; the subject is listed second; and the verb is listed last.)
- (P) Most—pass
- (P) None—have
- (S) Everyone—is
- (P) both—Do
- (P) Several—want
- (S) someone—Has
- (S) Each—was
- (P) all—Were
- (S) More—is
- (S) Nothing—is
- (P) few—swim
- (P) several—Have
- (S) Neither—was
- (P) Both—have
- (S) No one—reads
- Writing with Indefinite Pronouns
(These are possible answers.)
- Neither of us wants to miss the concert.
- A few of the dishes need washing.
- Most of the puzzle has been completed.
- Most of the tickets have been collected.
- Someone in these rooms has left this package on the table.
- Some of this newspaper is in the other room.
- Some of the cards feel sticky.
- Is any of the homework completed?
- Somebody found Lester's cell phone in the locker room.
- Are all of the dresses in this department on sale today?