Discussion in 'English Only' started by Edher, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    Cd. de México, Spanish & English

    When is it appropriate to use someone and somebody? I've seen a lot of people use them interchangeably, but I remember that there's a rule for it. Could all of you provide examples, please?

    Thank You, Edher
  2. lauranazario

    lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    Are you looking for English grammar rules and examples of English usage for both words??? If so, maybe I'd better transfer your inquiry to the English-Only forum.... just say the word and I'll gladly redirect your thread! :)

  3. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    Cd. de México, Spanish & English
    Could you transfer it perhaps later on today. As much as I like the English forum, it is usually not as quick as this one. But I understand that you have a job to do here, and that's to organize everything by category. However, could you just leave it here for a few hours, and see what type of answers I get, and then transfer it to where it really belongs. I would strongly appriciate that. Thank you.

  4. Masood

    Masood Senior Member

    Leicester, England
    British English
    Hi Edher,

    These 2 words are totally interchangeable as far as I know. I can't think of any examples where there is a preference for one over the other. If there is a rule, I've never heard it before.

  5. Artrella Banned

    Edher, in some dictionaries I consulted some time ago it says that "---one" is more informal than "---body".

    Bye :p :p :p !!!
  6. lauranazario

    lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    That's why this thread needs to be seen by the English-language experts!!!! :)

    I'm sorry you don't find that particular forum's "speed" fast enough for your taste... but this is simply the wrong forum for your inquiry.

  7. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Completely interchangeable. I am not aware of one being even slightly more formal etc than the other.
  8. Edwin

    Edwin Senior Member

    Tampa, Florida, USA
    USA / Native Language: English
    I'm not sure that it is a matter of formality. But I cannot help thinking that in some cases I prefer one over the other. For example, I would say of someone who is a little full of himself, ''he really thinks he's somebody, doesn't he?" To me, ''he really think's he's someone, doesn't he?" doesn't sound quite right. But that could just be my present mood. :)

    I found an essay here
    written by somebody (or should I say someone) in a linguists course at Carnegie Mellon University entitled
    Someone vs. Somebody-- Word/Phrase Pairs Exposed
    The author tries to find differences in the use of these words in a collection of literature by British authors. Although at the end he tries to show that in certain circumstances there is a slight bias toward one of the words, it wasn't very convincing to me. Most of his data supports the hypothesis that they are interchangeable.

    Backing up from the above link to

    You will find links to the following student essays. Many of these topics have been discussed in the WordReference fora.

    Candice Amich, Transitive Phrasal Verbs: Degrees of Idiomaticity

    Michelle Chao, Contexual Conditioning of 'Everyone' and 'Everybody'

    Janice Golenbock, Binomial Expressions: Does Frequency Matter?

    Raymond Ip, Shall we say "We will" or will we say "We shall?"

    Alex Kulick, Curiouser and Curiouser: Morphological vs. Periphrastic Comparison in English

    Maria Lamendola, "Sort of like very extreme": An Investigation of the Usage of "Like"

    Scott Lucas, To Not Be or Not To Be, That is the Question

    Peter Pawlowski, Quasi-pronouns and Phrasal Verbs

    John Reese, Common Phrases and Their use Within Genres

    Tim Smith, A Study of Dimension Related Synonyms in English

    Jon Sung, "Get Stuffed!" Findings on teh "get + predicate" Construction

    Tom Sweterlitsch, Someone vs Somebody: Word/Phrase Pairs Exposed

    Terry Watts, Commonly Confused words: Further vs. Farther, Lie vs. Lay

    April Yu, A Corpus Based Study of nice-and and good-and in Spoken British English
  9. Sharon

    Sharon Senior Member

    United States, English
    I use them interchangeably. Like Edwin, there are some cases where I would choose one or the other, but it probably is a matter of personal style, rather than any rule I have been taught.

    I did a little online hunting...sorry I can't quote any sources, but I couldn't find any 'rules' (I don't think there are any.) so I'm not going to quote anyone. The only website I found that even stated there was any difference said that "-one" is used more often, and that "-body" was more formal. This is not a difference I was aware of, though.

    Hope it helps!
  10. skypunisher New Member

    english dutch vietnamese
    i might have the answer here, they even taught us here in a dutch highschool, you use somebody when its stated like "you are somebody" , and you use someone when it's in a denial state like "you are not someone" , the same example just like anybody and anyone, everybody and everyone, for example, You have the same rights as anybody else----you don't have the same rights as anyone else, everybody is equal, everyone isn't equal, dont mixture with "every one" like in "every one of us", or the next example is better for everybody/one, Everybody is going to the park---Not everyone is going to the park

    hope this will help
  11. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    There simply is no such rule. "Someone" and "somebody" are interchangeable.

    This has nothing to do with the use of "any(body)(one)" or "every(body(one)", Skypunisher; those are other questions. If you want to discuss them, you should start a new thread. And welcome to the forum.
  12. skypunisher New Member

    english dutch vietnamese
    as far as i can remember it belongs to those group of words, and there is that rule on how to use it. both of them have the same meaning, but you are using it in another kind of sentence
  13. Lila07 New Member

    someone is more specific than somebody because of the "one". Someone may refer to another subject ( "you" for example) while somebody is more generic.
    Basically someone is more certain than somebody.
    For example if you say "can someone help me" it's more certain than "can somebody help me" because there may be a person you're thinking of, that already exists.
    If you say "I hope somebody will help me" you're not sure who will be there to help, there is no pre-construction of the group or person who might help you.
    If you speak French look in Réussir le commentaire grammaticale de textes, Wilfrid Rotgé and Jean-Rémi Lapaire, ELLIPSES, p72
  14. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    As other native speakers have already said, that's not true. There is no significant difference in meaning or usage. They are freely interchangeable.
  15. Lila07 New Member

    Yes. I was just quoting two linguists who studied the question. The examples were mine though, they might not represent well their ideas.

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