Someone, somebody, something, somewhere - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Someone, somebody, something, somewhere

from English Grammar Today

Someone, somebody, something, somewhere are indefinite pronouns. They function in a similar way to some. We use them in affirmative clauses and in questions expecting a particular answer. We can use them to refer to both general and specific people or things. We use them with a singular verb:

I know someone who gives piano lessons. (a specific person)

Somebody has obviously made a mistake. (general, we don’t know who)

Can you hear something?

There was no mistaking the smell. Burning. There was a fire somewhere.

We often use the plural pronoun they to refer back to (singular) someone or somebody when we do not know if the person is male or female:

Never judge someone by the way they look. (or Never judge someone by the way he or she looks.)

Someone and somebody

Someone and somebody have no difference in meaning. Somebody is a little less formal than someone. Someone is used more in writing than somebody. Somebody is more common in speaking:

We can no longer assume that because someone can do the job, they can teach the skill.

Somebody’s got to say something to her. She can’t behave like that.

Something and anything

We can use both something and anything in negative questions. They have different meanings:

Didn’t she bring something to eat? (I think she did bring something.)

Didn’t she bring anything to eat? (I’m surprised she didn’t bring something.)

(“Someone, somebody, something, somewhere” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

disappear off the face of the earth

to disappear completely

Word of the Day

The language of elections

by Liz Walter,
April 22, 2015
On May 7th, citizens of the UK will be going to the polls (having an election) to decide who will form the next government. This kind of election is known as a general election. The country is divided into 650 areas, called constituencies. Each constituency elects a member of parliament (MP) to

Read More 

dumbwalking noun

April 20, 2015
walking slowly, without paying attention to the world around you because you are consulting a smartphone He told me dumbwalking probably wouldn’t be a long-term problem.

Read More