Grammar Friday

Today’s two grammar tips:

  • Indefinite pronouns are words that replace nouns without specifying which nouns they replace. Some indefinite pronouns are singular, some are plural, and some can be either singular or plural depending on how they’re used. For the pronouns that can be either singular or plural, you’ll have to make the call depending on how the word is used. “All of the people are clapping their hands” uses a plural noun; all refers to people and is plural. “All of the newspaper was soaked” uses a singular noun; all refers to newspaper, which is singular. Here’s a list to help you keep indefinite pronouns straight:

    Guide to indefinite pronouns

    Always singularanother, anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, little, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, other, somebody, someone, something
    Always pluralboth, few, many, others, several
    Singular or pluralall, any, more, most, none, some
  • A jewel might be very unusual, but it can never be very unique. Unique means “one of a kind,” so adding a modifier like “very,” “extremely” or “so” makes no sense. The same is true of other words that convey some kind of absolute state, such as dead, eternal, fatal or identical.

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