What Are Their Similarities?
- 'Somebody' and 'someone' are both indefinite pronouns;
- We can use them in affirmative sentences and in interrogatives expecting a particular answer;
- Both can be used to refer to general and specific people;
- They both take singular verbs.
What Are Their Differences?
- 'Somebody' is more common in spoken English;
- '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
I don't know
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:
If we do not know whether there's a person in the house or not, we would ask:
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.
You don't suspect anyone in particular, you just know someone has forgotten to lock the door.
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'.