Basics Of Grammar In English A Pronoun That We Use All The Time Ep 292

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Basics Of Grammar In English

It’s been almost a month since we last covered the basics of grammar in English, we want you to acquire English grammar naturally through listening alone, but unfortunately, sometimes English grammar needs a little explanation to help answer some obvious questions.

Today we're talking about some very common pronouns. And the reason we are explaining these pronouns today? Well, mostly because we have that classic English problem where we have two English words that mean exactly the same thing, so which do you use? And why, oh why, are there two words when a single obvious word would be fine?

The English language is annoying like this, extra work for no real benefit, but as these pronouns used so often in everyday English we felt it would be worth going into a little detail to explain the why.

I built my talents on the shoulders of **someone** else's talent.
⭐ Michael Jordan

Note: That quote is meant to be someone saying the words, so it should use somebody, however because it's written down, they used someone, confusing right? Listen to the podcast to understand what I am saying here.

Well, we hope you enjoy this lesson, if you don’t want to listen to grammar, or your fine with pronouns then please try one of the other lessons.

Just remember this lesson is much more than a basic grammar lesson, along the way you will listen to hundreds of English vocabulary words, listening to a native English speaker which will help your brain absorb English and the story format of the lesson specially designed to encourage your brain to store what it hears in your longer term memory, perfect for automatic recall later on when you're speaking.

Most Unusual Words:


Most common 3 word phrases:

Someone And Somebody5
Anyone And Anybody4
Someone Or Somebody3
Everyone And Everybody3
In The Future3

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Basics Of Grammar In English A Pronoun That We Use All The Time

Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English.

How about we start the new year with something more related to the basics of grammar in English – one of those things that you ‘just have to learn’? But again, one of those things which will improve your English. So let’s talk about two different forms of a pronoun that we use all the time. If you want an answer to the question ‘What are basic English grammar rules?’, then Adept English is here to help you with that. Teaching English grammar through listening.

Someone or Somebody?

You’ll hear me use the following words in podcasts all the time – ‘everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody’. And what I notice during my process of creating podcasts, when I’m researching and writing the material, I’ll usually write these words as ‘everyone, someone, anyone or no one’. But then, when I record it, I unconsciously seem to change it to the form with -body on the end. So what is the difference between these two terms, these two pronouns – when are they used? In terms of their meaning and their place in the sentence, someone and somebody, anyone and anybody, everyone and everybody and no one and nobody – well, they’re exactly the same. So what is it that’s happening when I record the podcast – why do I end up automatically changing it?

Well, the answer is that these pronouns in the form with ‘-body’, -B-O-D-Y on the end are less formal. It’s more informal, more friendly sounding. So everybody, somebody, anybody, nobody tend to be what we say in conversation, whereas everyone, someone, anyone, no one is more likely in written English. However, it’s not rigid, it’s not one of those English grammar rules which is fixed – it’s fine to say ‘someone’ in conversation too. It would perhaps be a matter of style of writing, rather than plain incorrect, if you said ‘somebody’ or ‘anybody’, those forms of the pronoun if you were writing formally. So when I move from writing the material for the podcast and start to record it, I notice that I automatically change it to the -body form of the pronoun, because I’m aware of talking to you and we’re having a conversation! And I’d never thought about that until writing this podcast. So there is another example of ‘implicit language learning’ - the automatic part of language learning – so the things you don’t even realise you learn. Go to podcast 291 if you don’t understand what I mean by that.


But of course, as an English language learner, it’s a valid question to ask ‘What is the difference between someone and somebody?’ and then when you receive the answer ‘There’s no difference’, you move into questioning ‘Well, why are there two different words then?’. So there’s your answer – anybody and the rest is more for informal and spoken English and someone and the rest are for more formal and written English. So that’s the basics of grammar in English for pronouns, along with where to use them.

Using No One and Nobody, Someone and Somebody

So these general pronouns are quite easy to use – no one and nobody means no person. So in a sentence that might sound like ‘Nobody had done the homework’ or ‘No one asked where I was’. You’ll know this as part of your basic English speaking. Someone or somebody is a pronoun we use when we are talking about a specific person, but we either don’t want to name them, or we don’t know their identity, we don’t know who they are. But they’re a specific person because they’ve done something or we want them to do something.

So it might be ‘Someone left their shoes outside in the rain’. And this can mean either you know who that person is because you recognise their shoes, or you don’t know who it is, but you can see some shoes outside. Sometimes we use someone or somebody when we want the person to do something in the future – but we don’t yet know who will volunteer. So ‘Can someone clean the windows?’ or ‘Could somebody please help me with my bag?’

Using Anyone and Anybody

The pronouns anyone and anybody are used rather like someone and somebody when we’re making those requests in the future. So you could say ‘Can anyone clean the windows?’ or ‘Please could anyone help me with my bag?’. But the appeal, the request sounds more broad, perhaps a little bit more desperate ‘Can anyone do it?’. So anyone and anybody – they’re much more broad and general pronouns, not as specific as someone and somebody. We tend to use ‘anyone’ probably referring to some time in the future. For example, ‘Anyone can learn to speak English’, or ‘You can’t speak to anyone at work about this’.

Or if you’re asking a question, and your expectation is wide open ‘Did anyone see that film last night?’ or ‘Did anyone eat all the turkey at Christmas?’ Whereas if you said ‘Did someone see that film last night?’ or ‘Did someone eat all the turkey at Christmas?’ the meaning there would be that you probably know who did these things already. You’re just wanting to confirm it, to hear it directly. So basic English grammar lessons don’t always show you the different ways in which these words are used. But by listening, you’ll get to know when to use each one.


A photograph of a woman sitting on the windowsill of a large old fashioned window, used to help describe the basics of grammar in English.

©️ Adept English 2020

Using Everyone and Everybody

Finally everyone and everybody – the meaning of these pronouns is simple. It just means ‘all the people’. We tend to use those pronouns when we don’t literally mean ‘everyone on earth’, but to mean really ‘all the people that you would expect’. So you might say ‘Everyone came to the party’. Well, clearly not everyone on earth came to the party – but everyone that you might expect to be there, was there.

Just a word of caution with this word. There’s a difference between ‘Everyone came to the party’ and ‘Every one of the boys came to the party’. In the second sentence ‘Every one’ is two words - ‘Every one of the boys’. You can tell when it’s two separate words, because it’s followed by the word ‘of’. So ‘everyone gave gifts’ or ‘every one of the cousins gave gifts’ - just something to be careful of!

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

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Anyway, when you notice people sometimes use everyone and sometimes use everybody – you’ll now at least know what the difference is and sometimes it’s just personal preference. So there we are - the basics of grammar in English. Learn English today with Adept English.

If you’re learning well with the podcasts, but you’d like to just consolidate the basic vocabulary in English, then have a look at our courses page and at the Most Common 500 English Words course . This is a short course. It’s a ‘Listen and Learn’ course and it includes a number of articles, similar to podcasts on different topics. But the particular feature of this course is that it only uses the 500 Most Common Words in English.

Buy an Adept English Course

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So it’s a great opportunity to really get to know those 500 words. You can say a huge amount with those 500 Most Commonly Used Words. And if you listen to the course and you listen to the articles a number of times, you’ll get to know them really well. It also includes a list of vocabulary too. So you can buy that course and download it today. Or if there’s somebody who you can think of, who’s also learning English and might benefit from that, then please pass on the news, pass on the news about the 500 Most Common Words Course.


Anyway enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

P.S. Epiphany & Decorations

If you have gone to the trouble of putting lights and decorations up for Christmas in the UK, today (the 6th of January) is, for most British people, when you should take your decorations down. Why the 6th of January? Well, it is a tradition that this happens on Epiphany.

Catholics and Orthodox Christians celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany is, for most people, 12 days after Christmas on 6th January (or January 19th for some Orthodox Church who have Christmas on 7th January, rather than the 25th of December) it is a time when Christians recall the Three Kings or the Wise Men who visited Jesus.

Even though only half of the UK is Christian most of the UK is superstitious and everyone (not everybody!) follow this tradition out of habit.

Much more importantly, it is what my mum told me to do, so I do it! The decorations came down on the 5th just to be sure!

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