Negative pronouns

Negative pronouns

Pronouns are part of speech used instead of nouns and sometimes adjectives. They indicate a person, an object, a sign and a quantity, without naming it. In a sentence, a pronoun can be a subject, part of a predicate, an object, or an attribute. 

There are several groups of pronouns in English, one of which is negative pronouns. They are used to indicate the absence of any qualities, items, or attributes. Negative pronouns include: 

no - none 

none - nobody 

nobody - no one 

no one - no one, not one 

neither - neither, neither one nor the other 

nothing - nothing 

Use of negative pronouns 

1. The pronouns no and neither do not have the category of gender, number and case. They are placed before the nouns they define, which are used without articles, possessive or demonstrative pronouns.

  • I really need to go now. There’s no time left to waste it.  
  • There are no more cheesecakes for you today. Youve had enough 
  • Neither color suits to the pale face of yours.  

2. Provided there is a negative pronoun in the sentence, the verb predicate will be in the affirmative form, since the rule of double negation applies in English. Accordingly, if the predicate is in a negative form, then an indefinite pronoun will be used.

  • He just sat there and did nothing.(negative pronoun with affirmative verb) 
  • He just sat there and didn’t do anything. What a lazy man! (indefinite pronoun in the negative form of the verb) 

p.s. The double negative rule states that you cannot have two negative words in the same sentence. That is, either a negative particle or a negative pronoun will be used. 

3. The pronoun no will not be used as a noun pronoun (instead, none will be used, replacing both singular and plural countable nouns, as well as uncountable nouns).

  • Are there any fruits left in the fridge for me today? – No, there are none, sorry.  
  • Is there any gluten in this cake? – No, there’s none.  

4. Before object pronouns (personal pronouns in the object case us, them) or this, the, my, none + of will be used. When this pronoun is used with a plural noun, the verb can be singular or plural. In this case, the use of the verb in the singular will have a more formal connotation.

  • None of my friends wanted to go out in such a bad weather.  
  • None of his business partners have/has seen that contract.  

5. Derivatives from no, such as no one, nobody, nothing, are formed using the constructions no + -thing/-body/-one.

  • What are you doing? – Nothing.  
  • Who helped you with your assignment this time? – Nobody.  
  • Have you seen anyone on your way home? – No one.  


Pronouns are a pretty easy topic, and the only problem with using negative pronouns is with no, because our brains aren't used to seeing it as a pronoun. For us, this is primarily a negative word. But, in fact, all other negative pronouns are derived from no