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Choosing Words Correctly

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Indefinite Pronouns

An indefinite pronoun refers to an unknown or undetermined person, place or thing. They refer to non-specific people, things, or quantities. The specific identity of the person or thing is not known or emphasized.

Indefinite pronouns are used with singular or plural forms of verbs.

Singular Indefinite Pronouns

The following indefinite pronouns are always used with singular verb forms:
anyone, anybody, everyone, everybody, nothing, each, either, no one, neither, nobody, someone, and somebody.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:10.
You could replace everyone with everybody, anybody, or anyone in the above sentence, and the singular form of the verb (asks) is maintained. (Anyone who asks receives; anyone who seeks finds; and to anyone who knocks, the door will be opened).

Either of them is trustworthy.

(The verb form (is) matches the singular subject.)

Neither of the teachers plans only to teach the theory of evolution.
(Neither one of the teachers plans only to teach the theory of evolution.)

Singular pronouns are used with singular possessive adjectives.

Neither of the girls gave her homework to the teacher.
Incorrect: Neither of the girls gave their homework to the teacher.

Plural Indefinite Pronouns

These plural indefinite pronouns are used with plural verb forms: both, few, many, others, and several.

Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. John 20:4


Identify the pronoun as singular or plural and use the appropriate form of the verb. Be careful to match the subject with an appropriate verb.

Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Note: Indefinite pronouns can be made possessive with the use of an apostrophe. Indefinite pronouns are words like someone, other, one, and any.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:3

Using either with or and using neither with nor.

When using "either...or," "either" becomes a correlative conjunction rather than functioning as an indefinite pronoun.
"Or" connects two options, and it indicates a choice between them.
For example, "Either the cat or the dog is responsible for knocking over the flower vase."
In the above example, there are two subjects; a compound subject (first subject: cat, second subject: dog).
When "either" or "neither" is used in a sentence with "or" or "nor," the verb will agree with the second subject as singular or plural.

Either....or (or follows either)

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Matthew 6:24.
Neither....nor (nor follows neither)

The pairing of "neither" and "nor" is a grammatical convention that is often used in negative constructions to link two or more elements that are being negated.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39.

Bible Verse of the Day

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