somebody

azz

Senior Member
Persian
a. I don't understand why he didn't talk to somebody about his problems.

b. He wasn't helping somebody, he was annoying a group of people.

c. He isn't in love with somebody, he is just attracted to her.


Are the above sentences grammatical?
Does c mean that we know who that person is?
 
  • Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    azz said:
    a. I don't understand why he didn't talk to somebody about his problems.

    b. He wasn't helping somebody anybody /anyone, he was annoying a group of people.

    c. He isn't in love with somebody anybody/anyone, he is just attracted to her.


    Are the above sentences grammatical?
    Does c mean that we know who that person is?

    See my corrections. As for the meaning of (c), I would think that her refers to someone we know at least in some sense. Otherwise, we likely would say, ''...but he is attracted to someone.''
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    azz said:
    a. I don't understand why he didn't talk to somebody about his problems.

    b. He wasn't helping somebody, he was annoying a group of people.

    c. He isn't in love with somebody, he is just attracted to her.


    Are the above sentences grammatical?
    Does c mean that we know who that person is?


    These sentences are confusing to me. I'd say them this way:

    a. I don't understand why he hasn't talked/ didn't talk to anyone about his problems.

    b. He wasn't helping anyone, he was annoying a group of people.

    c. He isn't in love with XX, he is just attracted to her. >>> I don't understand the use of "somebody" in this sentence. When you say "her" you are referring to someone previously mentioned (anaphoric reference) and in that case you must know the person.


    :)
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    . He isn't in love with somebody anybody/anyone, he is just attracted to her. :cross:

    See my corrections. As for the meaning of (c), I would think that her refers to someone we know at least in some sense. Otherwise, we likely would say, ''...but he is attracted to someone.''




    Edwin, in your first correction to sentence c, you must change the second part of it, because if not it does not make sense. :p

    He isn't in love with anybody, just attracted to someone.
     

    Ralf

    Senior Member
    German
    a. I think it sounds correct.

    b. What about: He didn't help anybody (that is, anyone of the group refered to), thus annoying a group of people. or: Not helping anybody, he was annoying the whole group.

    c. He isn't in love with anybody. However, she just attracts him.

    At least this is the way I would understand these sentences.
    Further to your question about c.: If 'that person' refers to 'she' I think we should know her. Therefore I changed 'somebody' for 'anybody'
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Negative sentences should use "anybody" (or "anyone") while affirmative sentences should use "somebody" (or "someone"). Questions can use either "somebody" or "anybody".
    He asked somebody for help.
    He did not ask anybody for help.

    He wasn't helping anybody.

    Did he ask somebody for help?
    Did he ask anybody for help?

    Your sentences should be rewritten as follows:
    a. I don't understand why he didn't talk to anybody about his problems.

    b. He wasn't helping anybody, he was annoying a group of people.

    c. He isn't in love with anybody, he is just attracted to somebody.​
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Artrella said:
    Edwin, in your first correction to sentence c, you must change the second part of it, because if not it does not make sense. ]

    Art, the sentence:

    He isn't in love with anyone, he is just attracted to her.

    is a little strange, but I think it just might be possible to invent a story that would make it not unreasonable to say. But, I agree that in isolation it would seem that it should be one of:

    He isn't in love with her. He is just attracted to her.
    He isn't in love with anyone. He is just attracted to someone.


    It is annoying not to have the full context of a sentence.
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Edwin said:
    He isn't in love with anyone, he is just attracted to her.

    is a little strange, but I think it just might be possible to invent a story that would make it not unreasonable to say.
    - Does he love Becca?
    - Oh no, he isn't in love with anyone, he is just attracted to her.
     

    azz

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Is this sentence wrong too:
    His problem is that he doesn't have someone to take care of him.
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Nick said:
    Negative sentences should use "anybody" (or "anyone") while affirmative sentences should use "somebody" (or "someone"). Questions can use either "somebody" or "anybody".
    He asked somebody for help.
    He did not ask anybody for help.

    He wasn't helping anybody.

    Did he ask somebody for help?
    Did he ask anybody for help?

    Your sentences should be rewritten as follows:
    a. I don't understand why he didn't talk to anybody about his problems.

    b. He wasn't helping anybody, he was annoying a group of people.

    c. He isn't in love with anybody, he is just attracted to somebody.​

    To me it is perfectly natural to say,

    I don't know why he didn't talk to somebody before he did such a stupid thing.


    Alternatively,

    The fact that he didn't talk to anybody before it did it was stupid.
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    azz said:
    Is this sentence wrong too:
    His problem is that he doesn't have someone to take care of him.
    It should use "anyone" instead of "someone" (because "doesn't have" is negative).

    Many native speakers do not obey this rule, though. You could hear that sentence spoken with "somebody". In most cases, the meaning is the same.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Edwin said:
    Art, the sentence:

    He isn't in love with anyone, he is just attracted to her.

    is a little strange, but I think it just might be possible to invent a story that would make it not unreasonable to say. But, I agree that in isolation it would seem that it should be one of:

    He isn't in love with her. He is just attracted to her.
    He isn't in love with anyone. He is just attracted to someone.


    It is annoying not to have the full context of a sentence.
    Q: Does he love Becca, because if he does how do you explain all the flirting he did with Jane?
    A: He isn't in love with anyone/anybody, he is just attracted to her.

    "It is annoying not to have the full context of a sentence" This is the proverbial nail on the head, E! You're right, you can invent scenarios all day to justify the most seemingly odd constructions, but in isolation there is only so much help we can provided that is really helping.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    azz said:
    Is this sentence wrong too:
    His problem is that he doesn't have someone to take care of him.

    No. This sentence is fine. It makes perfect sense. "He doesn't have anyone to take care of him" is also correct. Either is fine.
     

    azz

    Senior Member
    Persian
    How about:

    I thought I heard you talking to somebody.

    a. I wasn't talking to anybody. I was reciting poetry.
    b. I wasn't talking to somebody. I was reciting poetry.

    Are both a and b acceptable? If not, which one should I use?
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    azz said:
    How about:

    I thought I heard you talking to somebody.

    a. I wasn't talking to anybody. I was reciting poetry.
    b. I wasn't talking to somebody. I was reciting poetry.

    Are both a and b acceptable? If not, which one should I use?


    a. is the acceptable sentence. It is a negative and therefore "anybody" is the word you would use.
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    Nick said:
    - Does he love Becca?
    - Oh no, he isn't in love with anyone, he is just attracted to her.



    Yes, in this case Edwin's sentence would make sense, because you need an antecedent to which "her" refers. So if you mention Becca, then the sentence it's ok. :)
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    azz said:
    How about:

    I thought I heard you talking to somebody.

    a. I wasn't talking to anybody. I was reciting poetry.
    b. I wasn't talking to somebody. I was reciting poetry.

    Are both a and b acceptable? If not, which one should I use?



    No, you need a negative pronoun because the verb is in the negative form.
    So a is acceptable and b is not. :)
     

    azz

    Senior Member
    Persian
    But I can use "someone" in a negative sentence if we know who we are talking about, can't I? If I use it as a proper noun, as it were. I think normally "someone" is accentuated in these sentences.
    He isn't talking to SOMEONE. (You know who I mean.)
     

    Artrella

    Banned
    BA
    Spanish-Argentina
    azz said:
    But I can use "someone" in a negative sentence if we know who we are talking about, can't I? If I use it as a proper noun, as it were. I think normally "someone" is accentuated in these sentences.
    He isn't talking to SOMEONE. (You know who I mean.)


    Yes! But I think you won't say that. You'd probably say "He isn't talking to Mary" because if you know who you are referring to you would not say "someone" but the name of that person. :)
     

    Edwin

    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    Artrella said:
    Yes! But I think you won't say that. You'd probably say "He isn't talking to Mary" because if you know who you are referring to you would not say "someone" but the name of that person. :)

    Or, as mentioned in another thread, you could say, ''He's talking to you-know-who." :)
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    azz said:
    But I can use "someone" in a negative sentence if we know who we are talking about, can't I? If I use it as a proper noun, as it were. I think normally "someone" is accentuated in these sentences.
    He isn't talking to SOMEONE. (You know who I mean.)
    No, that sentence does not work. If you are referring to a specific person, use "him" or "her" or "them".
    He isn't talking to anyone.
    He isn't talking to her.
    He isn't talking to them.
    They aren't talking.
    I guess that sentence is used in spoken English to mean "He isn't talking to you.", but I doubt that it is grammatically correct.
     
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