Indefinite pronouns are any that refer to something, someone, or someplace nonspecific. These are typically great to use if you are talking about a generalization!
There are several different categories of pronouns. Some are negative, universal, assertive existential, elective existential, and other.
Negative indefinite pronouns include: no one, nobody, nothing, neither, nowhere, and none. All of these pronouns are for stating that something is not true.
- No one should be able to cheat their way through the system.
- The travel agent took off with my money, and he was nowhere to be found.
Universal indefinite pronouns include: everyone, everybody, everywhere, everything, each, both, and all. These are used for generalizations about entire populations, groups, places, etc. Even though you might not actually see things literally, this can give you an idea of what to expect.
- Everyone knows that you should wash your hands before you eat, but not everybody actually does that.
- After I started learning Spanish, I began to see Spanish writing everywhere.
Assertive existential indefinite pronouns are: someone, someplace, somewhere, somebody, something, and some. Rather than pointing to a specific thing that you can remember, the pronouns with some are good to acknowledge there are pronouns that exist. However, you cannot necessarily point to a specific instance.
- I remember there was a great Italian restaurant somewhere around here, but I’m not sure if it was on this side of town or the other.
- The best thing to do is find someone who can make you happy and spend more time with them.
Elective existential indefinite pronouns are: anyone, anybody, anywhere, anything, either, and any. These pronouns also refer to specific things, but it is uncertain whether or not they exist. In some cases, they represent things, people, and places that could really exist. In other situations, what you describe is not actually present.
- You need to be more careful! Anyone could have seen you tonight!
- I can’t believe you lost the hard drive; it could literally be anywhere!
Ones that don’t exactly fit into one of the previous categories are: one, this, another, other, whatever, whichever, wherever, whoever, whomever, others, and such. These are also useful for generalizations.
- One should not worry about others if he does not yet have his own situation sorted.
- Whoever benefits from having privilege should acknowledge it and give back to the community when they are older.
Quantifier pronouns are used to define how many or how much of something there is. These include enough, little, less, much, more, most, plenty, one, several, few, fewer, many, more, and most.
- Little is known about this type of butterfly, but scientists are trying to study it more.
- I thought my dedication to the sport would be enough, but clearly my coach thought it was too little.
Possessive pronouns are used when talking about something that belongs to or is related to one of the pronouns above. These include one’s, nobody’s, someone’s, no one’s, somebody’s, whoever’s, other’s, others’, another’s, either’s, neither’s, etc. Note that these are typically contractions.
- If one does not want to get into trouble, one should mind one’s own business.
- People should not be able to just find someone’s most personal information with a simple search on the internet!