What’s the difference between somebody, someone, anybody, anyone?

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Someone and somebody can be used interchangeably, for example:

  • Someone stole my purse from my handbag” the lady told the police officer.
  • Somebody stole my purse from my handbag” the lady told the police officer.

The same rule goes for anybody and anyone, for example:

  • Does anybody have the managers email address?
  • Does anyone have the managers email address?

That’s the easy bit. The real problem that many English learners have is understanding the difference betweenc someone or somebody with anyone or anybody and when to use the different pronouns.

WHO vs WHOM 🧐👇

WHO vs WHOM 🧐👇
WHO vs WHOM 🧐👇

 

A great way to remember the difference between these pronouns is if we break them down to some and any. Some is used in positive sentences and can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns whereas any is used in negative sentences and interrogative sentences.

For example:

  • There is some yogurt in the fridge.
  • Do you have any yogurt in the fridge?
  • I have some spare time to discuss the project.
  • Do you have any spare time to discuss the project?
  • I have some sugar.
  • Do you have any sugar?

It is important to keep in mind that some, can be used when making a request or offering something to someone.

For example:

  • Would you like some sugar?
  • Can I have some dessert?

Now that we know how to use some and any, the pronouns in questions should start to become more clear. We can use someone and somebody in positive or affirmative sentences to refer to an unknown person.

For example:

  • There is someone in the bathroom.
  • Somebody bought the last carton of milk at the shop, I had to drive ten minutes to the other supermarket just to buy milk” she complained to her roommate.
  • The legal firm needs someone to organise their legal files from past cases.
  • “I think somebody was in the house while we were away on vacation” said the worried homeowner.

Remember we can also use someone and somebody if requesting or offering something. For example:

  • Would somebody like to read the next passage?
  • Can someone help me with this months report?

Finally, we use anybody and anyone in negative sentences and interrogative sentences.

For example:

  • Does anybody know the answer to the next question?
  • The new girl in school doesn’t think anyone likes her.
  • Is anybody going to the meeting this afternoon?
  • There wasn’t anyone at school today.

 

It is important to note that you will often see the pronoun nobody, this is the negative form of anybody.

For example:

  • There wasn’t anyone at the party last weekend.
  • There was no-one at the party last weekend.
  • I don’t know anybody at the new school.
  • I know nobody at the new school.

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More for you:
Emphatic, Demonstative, Indefinite and Distributive Pronouns
Everybody – Everyone – Somebody – Someone
How To Use The Passive Voice With Helpful Examples
Family Relationships in English And Phrases About Family

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