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Indefinite pronouns.




Indefinite pronouns point out some person or thing indefinitely. The indefinite pronouns are some, any, somebody, anybody, someone, anyone, something, anything, one.

The pronouns somebody, anybody, someone, anyone, have two cases: the common case and the genitive case.

1. Some is chiefly used in affirmative sentences while any is used in negative and interrogative sentences and in conditional clauses.

We spread down some wide blankets. (O. Henry)

But his chief trouble was that he did not know any editors or writers. (London)

Do you see any sign of his appreciating beauty? (Galsworthy)

If you have any new books, show them to me please.

When used with nouns of material some and any have the meaning of indefinite quantity.

Now run along and get some candy, and don't forget to give some to your brothers and sisters. (London)

Some, not any, is used in special and general questions expressing some request or proposal.

"Do you want some water?" "No, I don't want any water." (Maltz)

Some may have the meaning of 'certain' () before a noun in the plural.

You have some queer customers. Do you like this life? (Galsworthy)

Any may be used in affirmative sentences with the meaning of 'every' ().

Above a square-domed forehead he saw a mop of brown hair... nut-brown, with a wave to it and hints of curls that were a delight to any woman... (London)

Somebody, someone, something art chiefly used in affirmative sen- :ences.

He wanted someone young, you know a dark Spanish type... (Mansfield)

I want to say something. (Galsworthy)

Anybody, anyone, anything are used in negative and interrogative ;entences and in conditional clauses.

I don't want anything. (Voynich)

Is there anything between him and Annette? (Galsworthy)

If anyone had asked him if he wanted to own her soul, the question would have seemed to him both ridiculous and sentimental. (Galsworthy)

If Erik was ever to do anything of importance he would have to find a third way. (Wilson)

Somebody, someone, something art used in special and general questions if they express some request or proposal.

Will someone help me?

Anyone, anybody, anything may be used in affirmative sentences. Anyone, anybody are used with the meaning of 'everyone' (); anything is used with the meaning of'everything' ( ).

"You've no business to say such a thing!" she exclaimed. "Why not? Anybody can see it." (Galsworthy)

There is a limit to what anyone can bear. (Voynich)

... she sank in spirit inwardly and fluttered feebly at the heart as she thought of entering anyone of these mighty concerns and asking for something to do something that she could do anything. (Dreiser)



2. The indefinite pronouns some and any may be used as subject, object and attribute.

Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice. (Frost) (SUBJECT)

"I watch the fire and the boiling and the roasting " "When there is any," says Mr. George, with great expression. (Dickens) (SUBJECT)

... and his attention slid at once from such finality to the dust motes in the bluish sunlight coming in. Thrusting his hand up he tried to catch some. (Galsworthy) (OBJECT) Where is his home? He didn't have any. (Maltz) (OBJECT) Are there any real Indians in the woods? (O. Henry) (ATTRIBUTE)

Someone, anyone, somebody, anybody, something, anything may be used as subject, predicative, or object. When used as a subject they require a verb in the singular.

In the next house someone was playing over and over again "La donna mobile" on an untuned piano. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

... What he likes is anything except art. (Aldington) (PREDICATIVE)

And not merely did he not know any writers, but he did not know anybody who had ever attempted to write. (London) (OBJECT)

Though somebody, someone, anybody, anyone are used with the verb in the singular pronouns they, them, their are often used after them.

Someone has spilt their coffee on the carpet.

The genitive case of the pronouns somebody, someone, anybody, anyone is used as an attribute:

... he could pull his cap down over his eyes and screen himself behind someone's shoulder. (London)



"It's anybody's right," Martin heard somebody saying. (London)

... I looked up; I was in somebody's arms. (Shaw)

When preceded by a preposition the pronouns somebody, someone, something, anybody, anyone, anything may be used as prepositional indirect objects.

The girl doesn't belong to anybody is no use to anybody but me. (Shaw)

Such a purse had never been carried by anyone attentive to her. (Dreiser)

So, though he wasn't very successful at anything, he got along all right. (Aldington)

3. The indefinite-personal pronoun one is often used in the sense of any person or every person.

New York presents so many temptations for one to run into extravagance. (O. Henry)

The indefinite pronoun one is often used in a general sense.

... Only one with constitution of iron could have held himself down, as Martin did. (London)

The pronoun one may be used in the genitive case:

I know exactly what it feels like to be held down on one's back. (Galsworthy)

One may be used as a word-substitute:

I was looking at them, and also at intervals examining the teachers none of whom precisely pleased me; for the stout one was a little coarse, the dark one not a little fierce. (Ch. Bronte)

As a word-substitute one may be used in the plural:

Some of the gentlemen were gone to the stables; the younger ones, together with the younger ladies, were playing billiards in the billiard room. (Ch. Bronte)

13. Negative pronouns.

Most of the indefinite pronouns correspond to negative pronouns: some no, none; something nothing, none; somebody, someone nobody, no one, none.

Some defining pronouns also correspond to negative pronouns: everything nothing; all, everybody, every, each no, none, nobody; both, either neither

l. The negative pronoun no is used only before a noun as its attribute.

No dreams were possible in Dufton, where the snow seemed to turn black almost before it hit the ground. (Braine) No Forsyte can stand it for a minute. (Galsworthy)

The negative pronoun none may be applied both to human beings and things.

None of us none of us can hold on for ever! (Galsworthy)

... he took the letters from the gilt wire cage into which they had been thrust through the slit in the door. None from Irene. (Galsworthy)

It can be used as subject or object.

In this he would make little fires, and cook the birds he had not shot with his gun, hunting in the coppice and fields, or the fish he did not catch in the pond because there were none. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

... besides, it required woods and animals, of which he had none in his nursery except his two cats... (Galsworthy) (OBJECT)

After the combination 'none of+ a word in the plural' it is possible to use a verb both in the singular or in the plural. The plural form is rciore usual.

None of the people I met there were English.

2. The negative pronouns nobody, no one refer to human beings. They correspond to the indefinite pronouns somebody, someone and to the defining pronouns all, every, each, everybody.

The negative pronoun nobody may be used in the genitive case: nobody's.

The negative pronouns nobody and no one are mostly used as subjects and objects.

Nobody seemed to know him well. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

He remembered the days of his desperate starvation when no one invited him to dinner. (London) (SUBJECT)

I told you once that I have no one in the world but you. (Voynich) (OBJECT)

We'd have nobody to fight the war. (Heym) (OBJECT)

The pronoun nobody in the genitive case is used as an attribute.

Now Mr. Pullet never rode anything taller than a low pony, and was the least predatory of men, considering fire-arms dangerous, as apt to go off themselves by nobody's particular desire. (Eliot)

The pronouns nobody, no one preceded by a preposition are used as prepositional indirect objects.

Among all the crowd who came and went here, there and everywhere, she cared for nobody. (Galsworthy)

After the pronouns nobody, no one the pronouns they, their, them are often used in Modern English.

Nobody phoned, did they?

3. The negative pronoun nothing refers to things. It is opposite to the indefinite pronoun something and to the defining pronoun everything.

And nothing of vital importance had happened after that till the year turned. (Galsworthy)

Nothing may be used as subject, predicative, or object.

There is nothing to worry about. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

"Now, look here, Marian, this is nothing but nonsense," Martin began. (London) (PREDICATIVE)

... she brought nothing with her but the feeling of adventure. (Galsworthy) (OBJECT)

When preceded by a preposition nothing may be used as a prepositional indirect object:

On that train he thought of nothing but Lilly. (Wilson)

4. The negative pronoun neither is opposite to the defining pronouns either; both. Similar to these pronouns, it is used when people are talking about two things.

Neither of them answered; but their faces seemed to him as if contemptuous. (Galsworthy)

In the sentence it may be used as subject, object, and attribute.

Neither was wise enough to be sure of the working of the mind of the other. (Dreiser) (SUBJECT)

I like neither of them. (OBJECT)

We approved neither plan. (ATTRIBUTE)

The negative pronouns nobody, no one, nothing art singular in meaning and when they are used as the subject of the sentence they require a verb in the singular (see the above examples).

The negative pronoun neither when used with the preposition of can combine with a verb in the singular or in the plural.

Neither of us is/are married.

Neither of the children wants/want to go to bed.

 


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