Someone, somebody, something, somewhere - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online Cambridge dictionaries logo
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.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
A blazing row: words and phrases for arguing and arguments
by ,
May 04, 2016
by Kate Woodford We can’t always focus on the positive! This week, we’re looking at the language that is used to refer to arguing and arguments, and the differences in meaning between the various words and phrases. There are several words that suggest that people are arguing about something that is not important. (As you might

Read More 

Word of the Day

galaxy

one of the independent groups of stars in the universe

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More