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Negative pronouns.

Most of the indefinite pronouns correspond to negative pronouns: some no, none; something nothing, none; somebody, someone nobody, no one, none.

Some defining pronouns also correspond to negative pronouns: everything nothing; all, everybody, every, each no, none, nobody; both, either neither.

1. The negative pronoun no is used only before a noun as its attribute.


No dreams were possible in Dufton, where the snow seemed to turn black

almost before it hit the ground. (Braine)

No Forsyte can stand it for a minute. (Galsworthy)


The negative pronoun none may be applied both to human beings and things.


None of us — none of us can hold on for ever! (Galsworthy)

... he took the letters from the gilt wire cage into which they had been thrust

through the slit in the door. None from Irene. (Galsworthy)


It can be used as subject or object.


In this he would make little fires, and cook the birds he had not shot with his

gun, hunting in the coppice and fields, or the fish he did not catch in the pond

because there were none. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

...besides, it required woods and animals, of which he had none in his nursery

except his two cats... (Galsworthy) (OBJECT)


2. The negative pronouns nobody, no one refer to human beings. They correspond to the indefinite pronouns somebody, someone and to the defining pronouns all, every, each, everybody.

The negative pronoun nobody may be used in the genitive case: nobody’s.

The negative pronouns nobody and no one are mostly used as subjects and objects.


Nobody seemed to know him well. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

He remembered the days of his desperate starvation when no one invited him

to dinner. (London) (SUBJECT)

I told you once that I have no one in the world but you. (Voynich) (OBJECT)

We’d have nobody to fight the war. (Heym) (OBJECT)


The pronoun nobody in the genitive case is used as an attribute.


Now Mr. Pullet never rode anything taller than a low pony, and was the least

predatory of men, considering fire-arms dangerous, as apt to go off

themselves by nobody’s particular desire. (Eliot)


The pronouns nobody, no one preceded by a preposition are used as prepositional indirect objects.


Among all the crowd who came and went here, there and everywhere, she

cared for nobody. (Galsworthy)


3. The negative pronoun nothing refers to things. It is opposite to the indefinite pronoun something and to the defining pronoun everything.


And nothing of vital importance had happened after that till the year turned.


Nothing may be used as subject, predicative, or object.


There is nothing to worry about. (Galsworthy) (SUBJECT)

“Now, look here, Marian, this is nothing but nonsense,” Martin began.


...she brought nothing with her but the feeling of adventure. (Galsworthy)



When preceded by a preposition nothing may be used as a prepositional indirect object:


On that train he thought of nothing but Lilly. (Wilson)


The negative pronoun neither is opposite to the defining pronouns either, both.


Neither of them answered; but their faces seemed to him as if contemptuous.



In the sentence it may be used as subject, object, and attribute.


Neither was wise enough to be sure of the working of the mind of the other.

(Dreiser) (SUBJECT)

I like neither of them. (OBJECT)

We approved neither plan. (ATTRIBUTE)


The negative pronouns nobody, no one, nothing are singular in meaning and when they are used as the subject of the sentence they require a verb in the singular (see the above examples).


Chapter V

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  1. A. The adjectives below can be used to describe inventions or new ideas. Which have a positive meaning? Which have a negative meaning?
  2. Classification of pronouns.
  3. Conjunctive pronouns.
  4. Defining pronouns.
  5. Demonstrative pronouns.
  6. Demonstrative Pronouns. Development of Articles
  7. Emphatic Negative Constructions
  8. Exercise 1. Make the sentences negative.
  9. Exercise 1. Make the sentences negative.
  10. Exercise 4. Translate the words with prefixes having negative meanings.
  11. F. Which words below have a positive meaning? Which have a negative one? Use these words to complete the sentences below.
  12. However, there were references to negative numbers far earlier...

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Defining pronouns. | THE NUMERAL

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