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anybody vs somebody

Discussion in 'English Only' started by renetta, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. renetta

    renetta Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Hi everybody,

    Is there a difference between the two sentences:

    Have you met anybody famous?
    Have you met somebody famous?

    If I write these two sentences in Google, it turns out that the second one is far more frequent. Can anyone explain me why?

    Than you
     
  2. judkinsc

    judkinsc Senior Member

    Indiana
    English, USA
    It depends on what the speaker means.

    The second refers to a particular person, rather than a generic "anybody".

    You could ask the first if you had no information and wanted to know if they had met anyone famous recently.

    You could ask the second if you believed they had met someone famous recently.

    Do you see the difference?
     
  3. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
     
  4. M56 Senior Member

    Madrid
    Britain. English.
    Your conlusion is correct. The difference lies in discovering why the speaker has chosen to use a limited form, with "someone", or an unlimited form, with "anyone".
     
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I'll try to restate each of the sentences, which are both correct, despite their distinct meanings.


    Have you met anybody famous? Have you ever met any person who is or was famous? (Among all the people you have ever met, was any of them a famous person?)
    The question refers to the possibility of your having met one or more than one person who could be described as famous.


    Have you met somebody famous? Assuming that you have met some person, was that particular person famous? (Was the single person you met a famous person?)
     
  6. renetta

    renetta Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
    Thank you for your answers!

    And what about the difference between anybody and everybody? I think that anybody is more inclusive, more general, it does not matter who in particular we are referring to; whereas everybody implies that we are referring to a more limited goup of people.

    Thanks
     

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