Author: British Council | Published on 1 February 2023


Stage 1: Present examples 

Write this short paragraph on the board – or say it to the learners. 

Ask: “What do you notice about these sentences?”

Everyone enjoyed the concert.

Nobody stayed at home.

Somebody played the drums.

Some people sang.

We didn’t pay anything.

All of you can come next time.

To help learners, you could:

Ask specific questions like: 

  • “Do we know the names of the people who went to the concert/played the instruments?”
  • “Do we know what the people heard?”
  • “What words do we use instead of names of people and things?”

Stage 2: Take feedback

Check understanding. Ask learners to give feedback on what they noticed from the examples. Some key points could include:

  • Indefinite pronouns refer to people or things in a general way, without saying exactly who or what they are e.g. All of you can come next time.
  • We use pronouns ending in -body or -one for people, e.g. Everyone enjoyed the concert; Somebody played the drums.
  • We use pronouns ending in -thing for objects e.g. We didn’t pay everything.
  • Common indefinite pronouns are: you, one, they, someone, anyone, no-one, everyone, some, each, other
  • In negative clauses, we use pronouns starting with no-, e.g.  Nobody stayed at home.

Stage 3: Practise the grammar

Picture prompt

Show learners pictures of children doing things e.g. children playing in a playground

Learners work in teams and make up as many sentences about the picture as they can using indefinite pronouns.

For example: All the boys are playing soccer; Some of the girls are skipping; None of the teachers are skipping; Somebody has the ball; Something is on the ground; Everyone is happy, etc.

The team with the most correct sentences is the winner.

Hot potato

Learners sit in a circle and pass around a ‘hot potato’ (any object like a ball or a crumpled piece of paper). When you say “Stop!”, ask the person holding it to make a true sentence for the class using the language. E.g. nobody in this class is wearing a green shirt; some people have long hair.

Someone, anyone, no-one

Give learners small flashcards with the words someone, anyone, everyone and no-one written on them. Read out sentences with gaps for the indefinite pronouns. When you reach the gap, make a buzzing sound, but read the whole sentence. 

Learners hold up the correct card to complete the sentence. Remember there could be multiple answers for some questions.

For example: Does (bzzz) know the answer? (anyone / no-one); Is (bzzz) at the door? (someone / anyone); There was (bzzz) there. (someone / no-one), etc.