Lots of people have been moving out of my hometown. I rarely have seen anyone I know.

Can you use "someone" instead of anyone?

If not, please explain why. Thank you!

  • 1
    Welcome! What does your research tell you— do you think it is right or wrong? Keep contributing and welcome to ELL Stack Exchange! Jul 16 '19 at 1:30

If you mean to say that because many people are moving out of your town, you do not see people that you know often:

Lots of people have been moving out of my town. I rarely see anyone I know.


Many people have been moving out of my town, so I rarely see someone I know.

The important thing here is that the two clauses/sentences are connected as cause and effect; to do this you use the present perfect ("have been") for the first part, and the present (see) for the second part.

The first part has happened in the past and continues to and during the present, based on this you make a statement about the present moment. Either "someone" or "anyone" can work, as in my examples, but the tense must change.

If you stay in present perfect for the second part ("I rarely have seen..."), it sounds like the first part and the second part happen simultaneously, so cause and effect is not established. Most listeners will understand what you mean, but it can sound slightly "wrong".


Although both are grammatically correct, “someone” implies that you are talking about a specific person. “Anyone” is a more general term and is better for this situation.

Also, consider reordering the sentence to “I have rarely seen” instead of “I rarely have seen.” Some adverbs sound better when placed after a verb, but the sentence is still correct if the adverb is placed before.

For example: “I come here often” flows much better than “I often come here.”

  • "I rarely see someone I know." most certainly does not imply that the speaker has a specific person in mind!
    – BadZen
    Dec 18 '19 at 13:33
  • Also, read the entire sentence that you just suggested @MC5 construct to yourself out loud...
    – BadZen
    Dec 18 '19 at 13:44
  • Also, the word order is fine and there is complete indifference to the word order in your "often" example.
    – BadZen
    Dec 18 '19 at 13:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.