What is the difference between the two indefinite pronouns of 'nobody' and 'somebody'? Where can we use each one of them. Let's find out.

"Nobody" vs. "Somebody" in the English Grammar

Are They Opposites?

'Nobody' and 'somebody' both can be either indefinite pronouns or used as nouns.

'Nobody' and 'Somebody' as Indefinite Pronouns

'Nobody': Pronoun

As an indefinite pronoun, 'nobody' means no person; 'no one'.

Nobody spoke for a solid one minute. It was awkward.

Somebody: Pronoun

However, 'somebody' as an indefinite pronoun means an unspecified person.

Somebody came up to me and said hi.

As opposed to the example below which has the opposite meaning to the first example:

Nobody came up to me to even ask me my name.

Nobody: Negative Maker

Words such as 'nobody', 'nowhere', or 'nothing' are negative markers. It means in standard English, when we use these negative markers in a sentence, we should not commonly use a negative verb.

I opened the door and said hello but there was nobody in the room. (NOT ...but there wasn’t nobody in the room.)

'Somebody': Negative or Positive Statement?

We can use 'somebody' in negative questions. But in statements, 'somebody' can only be used with positive verbs (in negative statements, you should use 'anybody').

I called somebody to come and pick me up.

I didn't called anybody to come and pick me up.

'Nobody' and 'Somebody' as Nouns

'Nobody': Noun

As a noun, 'nobody' means a person who is not important or famous, or influential.

Everyone at school, treated him like like a nobody.

'Somebody': Noun

Whereas, 'somebody' means a famous, renowned person, someone who is a celebrity.

He wants to be a somebody someday.

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