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12.7 Indefinite Pronouns As Subject

When a singular indefinite pronoun acts as a subject, it always takes a singular verb. When a plural indefinite pronoun acts as subject, it always takes a plural verb.

Everybody dreads going to the dentist.
I've tried nine dentists and several have been real jokers.
Anyone who cracks jokes while his hands are in my mouth is in danger of being bitten.
Here are the indefinite pronouns. (Click HERE for a one-page, printable duplicate of this chart.)
SingularEither Singular
or Plural
Plural
everyone/everybody any both
anyone/anybody all many
someone/somebody some few
no one/nobody most several
each/much/one more  
either/neither none  
Pay particular attention to the ones that are always singular or always plural. Remember that a modifying phrase or clause between the subject and verb doesn't change the number of the subject:
Nobody is waiting for the light.
Nobody who can see past those cars is waiting for the light.
Few have even slowed down.
Few of the drivers in the line have even slowed down.

Application 8

A few indefinite pronouns agree with either singular or plural verbs, depending on the rest of the sentence.

More of that fruit is coming tomorrow.
More of those apples are coming tomorrow.
Review the chart of indefinite pronouns above. The pronouns in the two outer columns are fixed in number, no matter what words are in their modifying phrases. But each pronoun in the middle column changes number to match the object of the first preposition that follows.

Application 9

 

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