Indefinites




Indefinites :


The indefinite pronouns point out objects less clearly or definitely than demonstratives do.

Examples : each, every, either, both, neither, some, any, such, none, other, another, each other, one another.

1. Each has its merits.
2. Some are missing.
3. I cannot give you any.
4. Either is correct.
5. He knows neither of you.
6. I like both.

Most indefinites may be either pronouns or adjectives. But none is always a substantive in modern use and every is always an adjective.

None may be either singular or plural. When it means distinctly not one, it is singular. In many instances either construction is permissible.

1. None of us has the key.
2. None was (or were) left to tell the tale.

EACH OTHER and ONE ANOTHER are regarded as
compound pronouns . They designate related persons or things.

1. My neighbor and I like each other.
2. We must bear with one another.

The relation indicated by these pronouns is that of reciprocity. Hence they are often called
reciprocal pronouns .

There is no real distinction between EACH OTHER and ONE ANOTHER. The rules sometimes given for such a distinction are not supported by the best usage.

One (possessive one’s) is often used as an indefinite personal pronoun. Thus….

1. One does not like one’s [NOT his or their] motives to be doubted.

The use of his (for one’s) to refer back to a preceding one is found in respectable writers, but is contrary to the best usage.

All, several, few, many and similar words are often classed as
indefinites . They may be used as adjectives or as substantives. Everybody, everything, anybody, anything, somewhat, aught, naught, etc., are called indefinite nouns .

Care should be taken in framing such sentences as the following.

2. Everybody has his [NOT their] faults.

3. If anybody wishes to go, he [NOT they] may.

4. If anybody objects, let him [NOT them] speak.

5. Every member of this class must hand in his [NOT their] composition to-day.

6. Each hurries toward his [NOT their] home.

7. Each of us must lead his [NOT their] own life.

In sentences of this kind, the personal pronoun (he, his, him) must be in the singular to agree with its antecedent (everybody, anybody, etc.).

Note : When the antecedent is of common gender (as in the last example), the personal pronouns (he, his, him) may be regarded as of common gender also. In very precise or formal language, one may say he or she, his or her such as

Each of us must lead his or her own life.

But this form of expression is to be avoided unless the distinction is clearly necessary.

When used as adjectives, none of the indefinites have any forms of inflection. The same is true when they are pronouns, except as follows….

OTHERS is used as the plural of another. The possessive forms are

singular - another’s

plural – others’

The other (possessive - the other’s) has in the plural the others (possessive - the others’). Each other and one another add ’s in the possessive. One has a possessive ONE’S and the one becomes the ONES’ in the plural.


Indefinites :







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