Dave’s WW of EU: Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that makes an indefinite reference to a noun. Sorry, I know that’s one of those definitions that makes it more confusing than useful. Let’s see if we can’t clear things up.

Indefinite pronouns refer to things that are generically named OR that are not specifically named. Does that help?

Here are several examples of indefinite pronouns:

  • Anyone
  • Everyone
  • Nobody
  • Something
  • Somewhere
  • Anywhere
  • Anything

The biggest problems I typically see with indefinite pronouns is the spacing. Indefinite pronouns are usually contractions of two words (notable exception is no one) and therefore have no space. Many people like to put the space in there but that changes the meaning of the sentence.

For example:

  • Anyone can go.
  • Any one can go.

In the first sentence, literally any person can go. In the second, only “ones” can go.

  • Nobody is coming to the party.
  • No body is coming to the party.

I don’t think I need to point out the problems with this one.

Having said that, there are some indefinite pronoun look-alikes that do cause some problems. These are words that are often confused for indefinite pronouns and therefore are treated the same way. The big one is probably each other. This word is never spelled “eachother.” There are others out there as well, and you’ll just have to learn them. Most spellcheckers do a good job of catching these as long as you remember that indefinite pronouns have NO SPACE (with the exception of “no one” of course).

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