Anybody can come.
Several will walk.
Something is missing.
Some indefinite pronouns refer to only one person or thing. They are singular and take singular verbs:
Everybody wants success.
Each of the students tries hard.
Neither of us is going to fail.
Nothing is impossible.
The following indefinite pronouns refer to more than one person or thing. They take plural verbs:
Both are fine.
Few were quiet.
Many are excited.
Others seem nervous.
The following indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural depending on their use in the sentence.
They are plural when they refer to things that can be counted.
Most of the offices are closed on holidays.
They are singular when they refer to something that cannot be counted.
Most of the pizza is gone.
Write each indefinite pronoun and tell whether it is singular or plural in the sentence.
1. Much, singular
2. Each, singular
Choose the correct verb form (singular or plural) to match the indefinite pronoun in each sentence.
When indefinite pronouns are placed before nouns, they function as indefinite adjectives.
Some are too ripe. (pronoun)
Some pears are too ripe. (adjective)
He gave one to each. (pronoun)
He gave one to each person. (adjective)
If an indefinite pronoun is the antecedent for a personal pronoun, the personal pronoun must agree in number, person, and gender with its antecedent.
There is an exception. When writing, we do not use the plural their with the singular indefinite pronouns everyone, everybody, etc. When speaking, however, it has become acceptable to use their when the phrase his or her would sound awkward.
WRITTEN: Everybody can bring his or her own surfboard.
SPOKEN: Everybody can bring their own surfboard.
Choose the correct personal pronoun to match the antecedent when writing.
1. The antecedent something is singular, so we choose the singular personal pronoun its.
Something left its footprints in the mud.
2. The antecedent neither is singular, so we choose the singular personal pronoun his.
Neither of the boys forgot his money.
3. The antecedent some refers to people, who can be counted. We choose the plural personal pronoun their.
Some have paid their dues already.
4. The antecedent most is plural; it refers to colonists, which can be counted. Therefore, we choose the plural personal pronoun their.
Most of the colonists appreciated their freedom.
5. The antecedent everybody is singular, so we choose the singular pronouns his or her.
Everybody lived in his or her own way.
6. The antecedent nobody is singular, so we choose the singular personal pronouns his or her.
Nobody criticized his or her neighbor.