Anyone vs. Someone
'Anyone' and 'someone' are both indefinite pronouns that refer to an unidentified person. But despite their similarities, are they identical?
Main Difference in Meaning
'Someone' as a pronoun means some person. As opposed to 'anyone,' 'someone' is a little more specific. However, keep in mind that it still is some person 'of unspecified or indefinite identity'.
Main Difference in Statements
In a question, both can be used, but 'any' is usually used in negative statements, 'some' is used in affirmative statements.
|I didn't know anyone who is British.||I know someone who is British.|
|She doesn't need anyone to help her.||She needs someone to help her.|
Main Difference in Questions
'Someone' is more specific. When we use 'someone' in a question, we are subtly implying that we are sure there is a person responding to our question.
But 'anyone' is more general. It means we are asking a question without particularly expecting an answer.
In the first sentence, we do not assume someone will answer us. We're pretty sure there's no one there.
In the second sentence, we somehow are implying that we suspect somebody might be there.
Let us look at another example:
Here, you actually mean at least one person has touched your food.
This is a general question you ask a group of people, without any implications or hints.
When you want to talk about a specific person, but you still do not wish to say whom, instead of 'anyone', you should use 'someone', because it is more specific.
I'm going out with
Here, you cannot say 'I'm going out with anyone', because you are going out with a specific person.