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Archive Language Point 71

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Somebody, anybody, nobody, everybody

Alice sitting in a chair

Every, some, any, no

'Every', 'some', 'any' and 'no' can be used with 'one', 'body' and 'thing' to form compound pronouns, such as everyone, somebody, anything and nothing.

'Every', 'some', 'any' and 'no' can also be used with 'where' to form adverbs such as everywhere, somewhere and anywhere.

Pronouns such as somebody, nothing and everything usually take a singular verb, even though they may seem to refer to more than one thing.

Don't touch that computer: somebody is using it.
Don't worry. Nothing has happened.
Is everything ready for the party?
Everybody has arrived.

However, after everyone/everybody, we use they/their/them, even though the verb is singular.

Everyone has to take their shoes off before they come in.
Could everybody please put their names on the list?
Everybody enjoyed themselves at the party.

Somebody, someone, something, somewhere

These words refer to a person, thing or place, without identifying which person, thing or place.

somebody / someone: an unidentified person
something: an unidentified thing
somewhere: an unidentified place

Alice says 'there's something I want to ask you.' She is saying that she has a question, but she hasn't yet identified the topic of the question. When she says: 'There's somebody else, isn't there?' this is a positive statement, followed by a question tag. Alice is saying that she believes that Paul is seeing another woman, but she doesn't know who.

More examples:
Somebody called yesterday, but I don't know who it was.
He had something to eat before he went home.
Have you seen my phone? I put it down somewhere and now I can't find it.

Anybody, anyone, anything, anywhere

These words are used in questions and negative sentences, to refer to a person, thing or place, without identifying which person, thing or place.

anybody / anyone: an unidentified person
anything: an unidentified thing
anywhere: an unidentified place 

Are you seeing anybody else?
I've just moved to a new town, and I don't know anyone.
I haven't had anything to eat since I arrived.

'any-' words are also used to express conditions:
'You can park anywhere' = 'if you need a place to park, use one of these spaces.'
'It's easy to find. Ask anyone' = 'if you can't find it, ask someone: everybody knows where it is.'

Nobody, no-one, nothing, nowhere

These words are used in positive sentences, but they have negative meanings: they refer to an absence of people, things or place.
is written with a hyphen between the two 'o's.

Nobody knows where it is.
No-one came to the party.
He says he knows nothing about the crime.
They are homeless. They have nowhere to live.

Everybody, everyone, everything, everywhere

These words are used to refer to all people, things or places. Everybody and everyone have the same meaning.  

Everybody likes chocolate.
Everything closes at the end of the holiday season.
We need to tidy up. There's rubbish everywhere.


to confess:
to tell somebody that you have done something that you think is bad, or that you feel guilty about

to be seeing somebody:
to be having a romantic relationship

what's going on?
what's happening?

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