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Help! Indefinite Pronouns!

It would be really great if someone could explain the differences between these words and how to use them in sentences and why:

Alle en alles Sommige Verscheidene en verschillende Paar Elke en elk Enig en enige Enkele Ieder

Dank je wel!


October 22, 2014



Let me try! Many of these are interchangeable with each other, in most cases.

  • "Alle" = All. This is not a pronoun, but an adjective.
  • "Alles" = Everything.
  • "Sommige" = Some, not all.
  • "Verscheidene" = "Verschillende" = Several. These are also adjectives and mean more or less the same. Note: "verschillende" can also mean different.
  • "Een paar" = A few. Literally this also means a pair, but the idiomatic meaning (a few) is very common.
  • "Elke" and "elk" = Each. The former is used for de-words, the latter for het-words.
  • "Enig(e)" and "enkel(e)" = Certain, some, a couple of. Refer to a specific, small subset.
  • "Ieder(e)" = Every.

Some examples:

  • Alle appels zijn lekker = All apples are tasty
  • Alles is lekker = Everything is tasty
  • Sommige appels zijn lekker = Some apples are tasty (but not all)
  • Verscheidene appels zijn lekker = Several apples are tasty (refers to some specific tasty apples).
  • Ik heb een paar appels = I have a few apples
  • Elke appel is lekker = Each apple is tasty
  • Enkele appels zijn lekker = Certain apples are tasty
  • Iedere appel is lekker = Every apple is tasty


A lingot for you, sir! Thanks so much! One additional question, though: how do I know when to use verschillende or verscheidene? They appear to mean the same thing. And the same goes for enig(e) and enkel(e).


Yep, they are usually interchangeable! You can just pick one.

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