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What is indefiniteness?



Indefiniteness is a kind of definiteness indicating that the referent(s) of an expression are not presumed to be identifiable.


The referent is not identifiable because of a lack of shared knowledge or situation, including no previous mention of the referent.


Certain demonstratives and pronouns often are used to indicate indefiniteness.

Examples (English)

Here are some examples of words that indicate indefiniteness:

  • a
  • some
  • somebody
  Indefinite is a kind of

Pei and Gaynor 1954 98


Crystal 1980 263


Lyons 1968 276


Mish 1991 612


Hawkins, J. 1978 202

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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