English Grammar: How to use 5 confusing indefinite pronouns



“None of them is” or “none of them are”? What about all, most, any, and some? Are they singular or plural? I’ll show you an easy way to decide when these pronouns are singular and when they are plural. I’ll also review indefinite pronouns such as everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody, each, every, both, several, few, and many. You can get higher scores and better results in speaking, writing, IELTS, and TOEFL by applying these rules. Make sure to download my resource page on Countable and Uncountable Nouns to master this topic: https://www.engvid.com/english-resource/countable-and-uncountable-nouns/ And test your understanding of this video with the quiz: https://www.engvid.com/english-grammar-5-confusing-indefinite-pronouns/

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TRANSCRIPT

Hi. I’m Rebecca from engVid. One of the most important things when we speak a language and we want to speak it correctly is to make sure that our subject agrees with our verb. So, if we have a singular subject, we want to make sure we have a singular verb; if we have a plural subject, we want to make sure we use a plural verb. And most of the time this is something that you learn and you master. But when it comes to pronouns, it can be a little bit trickier.

Now, with the regular pronouns which are definite pronouns, like: “I”, “you”, “he”, “she”, “it”, and… These are singular; and “we”, “they”, and “you” sometimes – these are plural. So that’s also quite easy and usually you know that. But one area which can cause a lot of confusion to people who are learning English is something called indefinite pronouns, and there are lots of them. Okay?

So, what I’m going to focus on in this lesson is five of the most confusing ones because sometimes they are singular, and sometimes they are plural. And I’m going to explain to you so you will know exactly what to do. I’m also going to review some of the others and tell you when they are… Which ones are always singular and which ones are always plural. So, first of all, just before we start, let me just tell you that an indefinite pronoun is what it says; it’s not definite, so it doesn’t refer to a specific person, or place, or thing. Okay? Let’s get started.

Okay, so we have, here: “Indefinite Pronouns”, right? We have, as I said, three kinds; some that are always singular, some that are always plural, and the five which we’re going to focus on in this lesson which could be singular or plural. Okay? All right.

So, this is just to review these first. So, which ones are always singular? Things like: “Everybody”, “everyone”, “everything”. So, we say: “Everybody is here.”, “Everyone is here.”, “Everything is here.” Okay? We don’t say “are”. Same with: “Somebody is”, “Someone is”, “Something is”, “Is anybody here?”, “Is anyone here?”, “Is anything here?” or… And so on. “Nobody”, “no one”, “nothing” – also singular. “Each”, “every”, “much”. All of these are always singular. So, you have to learn that. If you’re not sure, you need to review that, but these are always singular. Okay? They’re always talking about only one, so they are… Even though it seems like there’s a lot. Okay? When we say: “Everyone”, we’re talking about, like, a group of people, so sometimes people think that means it’s plural, but it’s not; it’s actually singular. So, you have to learn that because we’re considering one group.

Next, we have a second category of indefinite pronouns which are always plural. These kind of make sense, so let’s look at them. “Both”, obviously we’re talking about at least two people-right?-here. So: “Several”, which means many – this is plural. “Both of them are”, “Several of the customers are”, “A few of the customers are here.”, “Many of the customers are here.”, and “Others are here.” Okay? So, these indefinite pronouns are always plural – that’s easy, and a little bit easier even than this one. Right?

But what happens when we come to these? These five are a little bit more confusing, because sometimes we can say the singular version, which is “is” and sometimes “are”, or depending on whatever the verb is. So, what are these indefinite pronouns that could go either way? They are: “Most”, “all”, “none”, “any”, and “some”. So, now I’m going to explain to you exactly when they become singular and when they are plural.

Okay, so the way that you decide with these five indefinite pronouns: “Most”, “all”, “none”, “any”, or “some”… The way you decide whether the verb should be singular or plural is based on what follows these terms. Okay? Let me give you an example. First we’re going to start with the easy example with countable nouns. So: “Most of the book is interesting.” […]

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