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Concourse 2

The -thing, -body, -one, -where set of pronouns

I want to go somewhere warm

think To start you thinking.
Look at these sentences and decide which ones are correct and which ones are wrong.
Click on the table when you have your answers.

test 1


Some simple rules

  1. In English most adjectives come before the noun so
    It is beautiful weather is CORRECT
    It is weather beautiful is WRONG
  2. When an adjective comes after the noun, it must be connected to the noun by a verb like be, grow, become, seem etc.  So,
    The weather was beautiful is CORRECT
    The weather became cold is CORRECT
    The weather beautiful is WRONG
  3. When we use words which end with -thing, -body, -one or -where like anything, somebody, nothing, everyone, anywhere the adjective always comes after the noun.  So,
    I want to eat something hot is CORRECT
    I want to eat hot something is WRONG
    Did you go anywhere interesting? is CORRECT
    Did you go interesting anywhere? is WRONG
test Now take a short test to see if you understand.


What do the words mean?

Word Meaning Example Remember!
something a thing we do not know She said something very funny (I don't know what)
I saw something I liked (I am not saying what it was)
I want something in blue (I am not saying exactly what it is)
a person we do not know Someone nice helped him (I do not know the person who helped)
Somebody rich bought the big house (I do not know who it was)
I spoke to somebody I met at the party (I am not saying who it was)
somewhere  a place we do not know They had a holiday somewhere warm (it does not matter where)
I want to go somewhere interesting (it does not matter where exactly)
She has a house somewhere in France (but I don't know where)
everything all the things Do they have everything important? (all the things which are important)
I bought everything I needed (all the things I needed)
The rain made everything wet (all the things were wet)
all the people Everyone important came to the party (all the important people came)
She spoke to everyone in French (she spoke to all the people in French)
Everybody who wants to play must put their names on the list (all the people who want to play must put their names on the list)
everywhere all the places Everywhere has Wi-Fi (all the places I go to)
She has seen everything good (all the good things)
Do you go everywhere with her? (all the places)
anything a thing we do not know Do you have anything in red? (I do not know what colour shoes you sell)
She can't say anything nice (it doesn't matter what it is)
Do you see anything you like? (it doesn't matter what it is)
a person we do not know Can anyone ask a question (it doesn't matter who)
She can't see anybody she knows (it doesn't matter who it is)
Do they anyone who speaks German? (it doesn't matter who it is)
anywhere a place we do not know She can't go anywhere smoky (it doesn't matter where it is)
Did you go anywhere nice? (I do not know where you went)
Is there anywhere else open? (it doesn't matter where or what exactly it is)
nothing no thing She said nothing to me (she did not speak)
I have nothing better to give you (I have no thing better)
I want nothing spicy (I don't like spicy food)
no person Shush!  Tell nobody! (do not say it to any people)
Nobody interesting came to the party (there were no interesting people at the party)
I spoke to no-one at the meeting (I did not speak a person at the meeting)
nowhere no place He has nowhere to live (he has no home)
I went nowhere warm (all the places I went to were cool)
She is going nowhere (she is staying here)


Some and Any

I'd like some cream.  Do you have any sugar?
You can have some cream but we don't have any sugar.

The simple rule is:

  • We use any in negative sentences and questions so we can say:
    • I didn't see anyone I knew so I went somewhere else.
    • Did you enjoy any of the music?  No, I didn't like any of it.
    • I can't do anything to help.
    • Can anyone come to the party?
  • We use some in positive statements so we can say:
    • I went somewhere interesting and spoke to somebody I met there.
    • I know somebody's home: the light is on.
    • She wants to go somewhere warm for a holiday.
    • I have something important to tell you.
    • Somebody has stolen my money.
  • but we can't say:
    • I didn't break some windows (that's WRONG)
    • I can't see something (that's WRONG)
    • I don't have somebody to talk to (that's WRONG)
    • Will somebody be at home at this time? (that's WRONG)
    • Do you have any appointments today? (that's WRONG)

But be careful!

Sometimes what looks like a question is NOT a real question!  For example:

  • Do you want anything to eat?
    • this is a real question and I do not know the answer.  It can be Yes or No.
  • Would you like something to eat?
    • this is NOT a real question.  I am not asking a question, I am making an offer and I think you will say Yes.
  • Did you say anything?
    • this is a real question and I do not know if you spoke or not because I was not there at the time.
  • Did you say something?
    • This is NOT a real question because I know you said something but I did not hear it well.  I am asking you to repeat.
  • Do you have anything important to do?
    • This is a real question and I do not know the answer.
  • Do you have something important to do?
    • This is NOT a real question.  I can see you have something to do and am asking if it's important.


No is negative

There's nobody here  

In some languages (yours?), you must say, for example:

I don't have nothing
There isn't nobody here
I didn't go nowhere
I don't know no-one

All of these are WRONG in English!

In English, we can only have one negative in the sentence so we say, for example:

I have nothing
There isn't anybody here
I went nowhere
I don't know anyone

We can have:

  • a negative verb with any-
    • I don't have any money
    • They can't hear anything
    • We don't have anywhere to live
    • John hasn't anyone to talk to
    • She doesn't talk to anybody in the office
  • a positive verb with no-
    • I have no money
    • They can hear nothing
    • We have nowhere to live
    • John has no-one to talk to
    • She talks to nobody in the office


All the words with -thing, -body, -one and ‑where are singular

We use a singular verb with all these words so these are all WRONG:

  • Nobody have enough money
  • Everybody have arrived
  • Somebody have broken it
  • Are everything OK?
  • Are everywhere the same?

and these are all CORRECT:

  • Nobody has enough money
  • Everybody has arrived
  • Somebody has broken it
  • Is everything OK?
  • Is everywhere the same?
test There are two short tests now to see what you have learned.

Good luck!