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Anyone or anybody

10 replies

mrsnw · 07/10/2013 14:44

What's the difference between the two? Should you say, "Would anyone like ...?" Or, "Would anybody like ....?" Confused (scratches head) lol xx

OP posts:
Fenton · 07/10/2013 14:45

I haven't a scooby doo.

Donki · 07/10/2013 14:51

Number of syllables?

[Sits down next to Fenton to await a proper reply]

MirandaGoshawk · 07/10/2013 17:05

I think they're the same. Or rather, different but mean the same thing. Smile

But I'm prepared to sit with you two and see if anyone clevererbetter-informed comes along.

prism · 08/10/2013 22:51

Despite the received wisdom of the internet appearing to be that there is no difference, I'd posit that there is a slight one. In English we have no word for "any people", ie the plural of "anyone", so my guess is that when you're referring to multiple unidentified people, or one person from an unidentified group, you're more likely to say "anybody", and when you're implying that the unidentified person is just one in number, you'd say "anyone". Because of the "one", natch.

So I reckon you'd say "Does anyone know when we're due to go home?" when talking to real people in front of you, and "Has anybody ever actually read the Daily Mail?" when speaking in the abstract.

I am, like Fishbone, on shaky ground with this one, and I'm not sure there's any serious difference but hell, no-one's going to mind.

Or should that be "nobody"?

LiberalPedant · 11/10/2013 02:19

I am aware of that purported distinction prism, but I think it is a pedantry too far, especially considering that many dictionaries define "anybody" as meaning "anyone."

ZingWantsCake · 11/10/2013 02:44


you are partially right.
they mean the same thing (any one person) but "anyone" is the singular from and "anybody" is the plural.

"anyone" is used when one singular person is to be identified (does anyone have a question? - meaning is there one person with a question) while "anybody" is used to identify any number of people (does anybody here have a car key? - meaning are there any people here with a car key)

the difference is subtle and as the language changes/has changed the two words are/have become pretty much interchangeable.

StopDoingThat · 11/10/2013 02:46

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StopDoingThat · 11/10/2013 02:47

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiniMonty · 23/10/2013 02:08

Anyone is a close term.
Anybody is larger.

Anyone and Anybody exist more or less uniqely in English.

Neither word exits in French, Latin or German but all the words (any) and (body) and (one) exist in all Euro Germanic and Celtic languages (including Welsh). Only in English are they combined (lazily [or cleverly] you might argue) into one word.

In general use "anyone" refers to people in our social group and "anybody" refers to the whole of society or the whole human race.

mrsnw · 26/10/2013 19:32

Thanks for that ladies. I understand now xx

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