Agreement with Indefinite Pronouns
The following pronouns do not refer to specific people. They are indefinite.
Remember to use singular personal pronouns when referring to any of these words, as in the following example sentences.
Someone dropped his/her wallet in the cafeteria.
Everybody has his/her share of problems.
Anyone can succeed if he/she tries hard.
Note: In informal spoken English, plural personal pronouns are commonly used to refer to indefinite pronouns, as in these examples.
Someone dropped their wallet in the cafeteria.
Everybody has their share of problems.
Anyone can succeed if they try hard.
Some indefinite pronouns, such as both, few, many, others, and several, are considered to be plural. Study the following examples.
Both of them are here.
Few were at the meeting.
Although the weather was bad, many attended the performance.
Some people enjoyed the speech, but others weren't impressed.
Hardly anyone liked the food. In fact, several refused to eat it.
Some indefinite pronouns can take either singular or plural verbs, depending on their context. Compare the pairs of sentences below.
|Indefinite Pronoun||Singular Example||Plural Example|
|all||All is not lost.||All are here now.|
|any||I'd like more soup. Is any left in the pot?||I told several people about the meeting, but I don't know if any are coming.|
|more||If you are still hungry, there is more in the kitchen. Just help yourself.||The restaurant is already crowded, and more are waiting at the door.|
|most||Most disappeared.||A few people couldn't attend the ceremony, but most were able to come.|
|some||If you like orange juice, there is some in the refrigerator.||Some were disappointed with the judges' decision, but the majority of people thought it was fair.|