Somebody vs. Someone

What is the difference between 'someone' and 'somebody'? Do they have the same meaning? Can they be used interchangeably? Let's find out.

What Are Their Similarities?

  1. 'Somebody' and 'someone' are both indefinite pronouns;
  2. We can use them in affirmative sentences and in interrogatives expecting a particular answer;
  3. Both can be used to refer to general and specific people;
  4. They both take singular verbs.

Someone's injured in the car accident.

He asked somebody to help him.

What Are Their Differences?

  1. 'Somebody' is more common in spoken English;
  2. 'Someone' is more common in written English.

Don't Use Them in Negative Sentences

Attention! We don't use 'somebody' and 'someone' as objects in negative sentences.

I don't know someone who works at a bank.

I don't know anyone who works at a bank.

Subtle Difference in Meaning (1)

We use 'someone' or 'somebody' when we are expecting to hear the answer 'yes'. For example, if we think there's someone at the house, we ask:

Is someone here?

If we do not know whether there's a person in the house or not, we would ask:

Is anyone here?

Subtle Difference in Meaning (2)

'Someone' is used when you want to refer to a person in a group of people, but you don't know whom you're referring to.
'Somebody' is used when you want to refer to a person with slight significance. It refers to the person whom you possibly know but not in that particular current situation.

Someone left the door open.

You don't suspect anyone in particular, you just know someone has forgotten to lock the door.

Somebody left the door open.

There's a slight accusation in this sentence. It means you probably know who's left the door open, you're just not sure.

Do They Have Plural Forms?

'Someone' and 'somebody' do NOT have plural forms. If we want to refer to a group of people, we use 'some people'.

Some people were injured in the car accident.

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