I have some difficulty to understand when to use the 4 words: anybody, somebody, anyone, someone. For example: “I would like to ask if someone can help me” is it right? And if I want to start the quote with one of these words, it can be: “Anyone can help?” I’m confused.


The general rule is the one below. anyone/anybody etc. are exactly the same. No difference at all.

  • Somebody ate all the bread. [declarative pronoun]
  • Did anybody eat all the bread? [interrogative pronoun] [The expectation is that a person OR
  • Did somebody eat all the bread? [alternative interrogative pronoun]
  • Nobody ate the bread. It's on the table. [negative pronoun]

    For questions with modals like can, the question is formed starting with the modal:

  • Can someone/anyone help me with this?

  • Should someone/anyone answer the phone today?

Please note: nobody and no one is used in the negative and double negatives should be avoided ("I didn't see no one.").

There is a slight difference between any[one or body] and some[one or body].

With a negative expectation, one would say: - Did anyone enjoy themselves at the party? [The party was terrible.] - Did anyone [at all] eat the pasta dish? [The pasta was not great.]

That use of anyone or anybody sometimes reveals the speaker's attitude.

With the last one, if one simply does not know, one would say: - Did someone come to the door?

If there is a negative expectation, one would say: - Did anyone come to the door?

Please note, this is not every single point that may be made about these usages.

  • Someone is going through my answers and downvoting. Woe is you. How low can one go? – Lambie Sep 20 '19 at 23:54

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