What is an indefinite noun?

1 Answer
Apr 16, 2018

An indefinite pronoun is a word that replaces a noun without specifying which noun it places. It does not specify the exact being, place, or object it refers to.


Indefinite pronouns are usually used when the noun is unknown, for example, somebody, anything, others, etc. Their use in sentences is classified into two categories: affirmative and negative. Affirmative sentences are defined by one key characteristic, they lack the word not. Some examples of affirmative sentences are as follows:

  • Everyone has shoes
  • Something is wrong
  • There is nothing to do
  • You can go anywhere you'd like

Infinitive pronouns using every represent a complete quality, pronouns using some denotes an indefinite quality, pronouns using no describes the lack of a quality, and pronouns using any have a similar meaning to every; whichever place, whichever thing, whichever person, and so on so forth.


Negative sentences have the word not in them (sometimes in the form of a contraction) and can only be formed if the infinitive pronoun includes any. Some examples of negative sentences are as follows:

  • There isn't anything to eat
  • He did not talk to anyone yesterday
  • They weren't allowed to go anywhere

By removing the not and replacing the any with no, most negative sentences can be turned into affirmative sentences that usually come with a stronger emotional context. For example:

  • She didn't tell me anything about it #-># She told me nothing about it
  • There wasn't anything we could do about it #-># There was nothing we could do about it

In the examples shown above, the affirmative sentence seemed more defensive and angry.

Infinitive pronouns using some, every, and any can also be used to form negative questions that are (typically) answered with "yes" or "no". For example:

  • Where is everyone?
  • Are you looking for something?