Easy Learning French

Indefinite pronouns - Easy Learning Grammar French

What is an indefinite pronoun?
An indefinite pronoun is one of a small group of pronouns such as everything, nobody and something which are used to refer to people or things in a general way without saying exactly who or what they are.
  • Here are the most common French indefinite pronouns:
  • chacun (masculine singular)/chacune (feminine singular) each, everyone
Nous avons chacun donné dix euros.We each gave ten euros.
Chacun fait ce qu’il veut.Everyone does what they like.
Toutes les villas ont chacune leur piscine.Each villa has its own swimming pool.
  • personne nobody/no one, anybody/anyone
Il n’y a personne à la maison.There’s no one at home.
Elle ne veut voir personne.She doesn’t want to see anybody.
  • For more information on Negatives, see Negatives.
TipYou can use personne on its own to answer a question.Qui connaît la réponse? Personne. Who knows the answer? No one. If the sentence contains a verb you have to use ne with it.
Personne n’est venu.Nobody came.
  • quelque chose something, anything
J’ai quelque chose pour toi.I’ve got something for you.
Avez-vous quelque chose à déclarer?Do you have anything to declare?
  • quelqu’un somebody/someone, anybody/anyone
Il y a quelqu’un à la porte.There’s someone at the door.
Quelqu’un a vu mon parapluie?Has anybody seen my umbrella?
  • rien nothing, anything
Elle n’a rien dit.She didn’t say anything.
Rien n’a changé.Nothing’s changed.
  • For more information on Negatives, see Negatives.
TipYou can use rien on its own to answer a question.
‘Qu’est-ce tu as acheté?’ – ‘Rien.’‘What did you buy?’ – ‘Nothing.’
If the sentence contains a verb you have to use ne with it.
Il n’a rien mangé.He’s eaten nothing.
  • tout everything
Il organise tout.He’s organizing everything.
Tout va bien?Is everything OK?
  • tous (masculine plural)/toutes (feminine plural) all
Je les connais tous.I know them all.
Elles sont toutes arrivées?Are they all here?
  • You can use quelque chose de/rien de and quelqu’un de/personne de with adjectives if you want to say nothing interesting, something new and so on.
rien d’intéressantnothing interesting
Key points
  • rien and personne can be used on their own to answer questions, but need to be used with ne when there is a verb in the sentence.
  • quelque chose/rien and quelqu’un/personne can be followed by de + adjective.

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