indefinite pronoun – pronom indéfini
Let's Define It!
What's an *indefinite pronoun*?
Before we try and define an indefinite pronoun (pronom indéfini), first, let's remind everyone what a pronoun is or does.
A pronoun is a word or group of word whose sole function is to stand for (i.e. replace) a noun.
Now that we got this out of the way, what about "indefinite"? Well, indefinite in this grammatical context simply means, non-specific, vague, general, or random.
An indefinite pronoun is one that indicates quantity or identity in a non-specific or general manner. So for example, when you say,
"Il a mangé quelque chose."
quelque chose is an indefinite pronoun, indefinite because it still hides the real identity of the thing eaten, and a pronoun, because it is a placeholder for any noun you'd want to type in there.
Or look at this other example -- this time an indefinite pronoun about quantity.
A- Tu as déjà parlé aux nouveaux élèves? /You already spoke to the new pupils?
B - Oui, j'ai parlé à certains. / Yes, I spoke to some (of them).
- The certains in this case is a pronoun replacing the nominal phrase nouveaux élèves. However it is indefinite because we don't know the exact number of new pupils greeted by the subject "I".
Let's Pronounce It!
What does it sound like in French?
Let's Have an Example or Two!
Can a little reinforcement do the trick?
Find below a few sentences including some indefinite pronouns:
- Quelqu'un m'a dit bonjour tout à l'heure. /Someone told me hello a little while ago.
- Beaucoup pensent que le monde va à la dérive. / Many think that the world is losing its ways.
- Tu as dit quelque chose? / You said something?