Indefinite pronouns are divided into two groups: variable and invariable. They are reasonably simple structures to use, but quite often, Portuguese language students make some mistakes in their usage. Following is a list of guidelines to assist in the usage of these words:
GUIDE LINE 1 – Invariable pronouns are: ‘Alguém‘ (someone), ‘Ninguém‘ (no one), ‘Tudo‘ (everything), ‘Nada‘ (nothing), and ‘Cada‘ (each). These words never change.
GUIDE LINE 2-We use the words ‘Alguém‘ (someone) and ‘Ninguém‘ (no one) only for people. We use the words ‘Tudo‘ (everything) and ‘Nada‘ (nothing) only for things. We use the word ‘Cada‘ (each) for both people and things.
GUIDE LINE 3 – Variable indefinite pronouns are: ‘Algum‘ (some), ‘Nenhum‘ (none), ‘Muito‘ (much/many), ‘Todo‘ (all/every), ‘Pouco‘ (few/little), ‘Outro‘ (other)
GUIDE LINE 4 – In Portuguese, we use double negation when using indefinite pronouns. Examples: A. ‘Não tenho nada” = I have nothing,’ B.”Não vi ninguém” = ‘I didn’t see anyone.’
GUIDE LINE 5 – Quite often, Portuguese language students have difficulty in choosing between the use of a definite pronoun or an indefinite pronoun. For example: should I use the pronoun ‘todo‘ or ‘tudo‘? Should I use ‘Alguém‘ or ‘Algum‘? Should I use ‘ninguém‘ or ‘nenhum‘? Resolving this doubt is quite simple. Don’t forget that variable pronouns are variable because, after using them, we always have a noun, and the pronoun we use agrees (in gender and number) with that noun. For example: ‘Nenhuma pessoa pode ganhar o título!’ (No person can win the title!) On the other hand, after using an invariable indefinite pronoun, we never encounter a noun. Examples: ‘Ele tem tudo!’ (He has everything!) ‘Ele não sabe nada!’ (He knows nothing!)
To listen to the AUDIO in Portuguese, go to OPTIONS and switch the AUDIO to ON. To turn on the AUDIO, go to FLASHCARDS and click on the COG WHEEL (top right).
To learn and consolidate this list, you should follow the following STUDY METHOD:
Here are two lists of words: INVARIABLE DEFINITE PRONOUNS and VARIABLE INDEFINITE PRONOUNS.