Indefinite Pronouns

Pronombres indefinidos

Indefinite pronouns in Spanish
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Indefinite pronouns are vague – they either refer to unspecific nouns or make sweeping generalizations.

Por ejemplo…

Todo el mundo está aquí.   Everyone is here.
Compró algo.   He bought something.
Tengo un regalo para alguien.    I have a gift for someone.

Characteristics of indefinite pronouns

  1. Replace indefinite adjective + noun
  2. Several are identical to Spanish indefinite adjectives
  3. May need to agree with the noun they replace in gender or number
  4. May be subject, direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition

Spanish indefinite pronouns

Masculine Feminine    
algo     something
alguien     someone
alguno alguna   a certain one
algunos algunas   some, a few
cada uno cada una   each one
ciertos ciertas   some
cualquiera     anyone, whoever
muchos muchas   a lot, much, many
un otro una otra   another one
otros otras   others
    one
sí mismo sí misma   oneself
todo     everything
todo el mundo      everyone
uno una   one
varios varias   some, several

Using indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are a varied lot; there are a number of characteristics and rules that apply to some but not all of them.

Agreement

  • The pronouns alguno and otro have to agree with the nouns they replace in gender and number.
  • Cada uno, ciertos, muchos, sí mismo, uno, and varios have to agree with the nouns they replace in gender.
  • The other indefinite pronnouns are invariable.

Antecedent

Alguno, cada uno, otro, and varios require an antecedent: a previously mentioned or implied noun that makes it obvious they are replacing.

Perdí mi pluma, entonces tengo que comprar una otra.   I lost my pen, so I have to buy another one.
Tiene 50 libros y quiero leer cada uno.   He has 50 books and I want to read each one.

De + pronoun / noun

Algunos, cada uno, muchos, uno, and varios can be followed by the preposition de plus a plural subject pronoun or a noun.

Uno de vosotros tiene que ayudarme.    One of you has to help me.
Algunos de los estudiantes están aquí.   Some of the students are here.

Verb conjugations

Singular indefinite pronouns (algo, alguien, alguno, cada uno, etc) take the third person singular form of the verb.

¿Todo está bien?   Is everything ok?
Alguien debe saber.   Someone must know.

Plural indefinite pronouns (algunos, ciertos, muchos, etc) take the third person plural.

Algunos están en la cocina.   Some are in the kitchen.
Hay otros que saben.   There are others who know.

is the indefinite reflexive prepositional pronoun.

Uno is the indefinite subject pronoun.

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Pronombres indefinidos