-body vs. -one

Murrah Lee mclee at MURRAH.COM
Sat Jan 3 17:41:21 UTC 2009

I saw an old Sherlock Holmes movie, "Terror by Night," last night, and
one of the characters-- Inspector LaStrade, I think--said that
"Somebody (did something)" rather than "Someone (did something)".  I
grew up in East Texas in the 1950s, and we always used the -body
form.  However, I have lived in Iowa and Michigan as an adult, and
there they generally use the -one form.  I assume that Southerners
tend to use -body and Northerners -one. I wonder if someone can give
insight into the cultural origins of the use of -body (as in somebody)
vs. -one (as in someone).  I suspect it reflects that the South was
influenced more by southern and southwestern England while New England
and the Midwest by eastern England.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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