Indefinite pronouns

June 12th, 20123:38 am


Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns point out a person or a thing without naming them. This group of pronouns has no definite structure; its nucleus, however, is formed by the pronouns some, any and their derivatives something, any­thing; somebody, anybody, someone, anyone. These pronouns distinguish between “person” and “non-person”, which leads to the possibility to present this opposition as “animate” – “inanimate”. Some scholars refute this point of view claiming that the pronouns with the components -body, -one are not usually used in reference to animals, i.e. if there is a cat or a dog in the room, the question Is there anybody in the room? is more likely to be answered There is nobody in the room, since there is no human being there. The pro nouns some and any may perform syntactic functions typical of nouns and adjectives: some of us, can any of you help me? Derivatives of some and any are syntactically similar to nouns.

The pronouns somebody, anybody, someone, anyone have two cases: the common case and the possessive (or genitive) case: somebody’s car, anyone’s opinion.

The indefinite-personal pronoun one is often used in the sense of any person or every person. It also has the case category: One can’t help noticing differences between American and British pronunciation. It is inconsiderate to waste one’s energy on trifles.

The pronoun one may be used as a word-substitute: I don’t like that cup. Can I have the green one? As a word-substitute one may be used in the plural: Some of the guests had left by 10p.m.; the ones who stayed danced till midnight.

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