-body vs. -one

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Sat Jan 3 19:30:45 UTC 2009

Murrah Lee wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Murrah Lee <mclee at MURRAH.COM>
> Subject:      -body vs. -one
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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.

To me, "somebody" sounds more natural; "someone" is more formal than
everyday speech.  I grew up in Ulster County NY (mostly rural, about a
hundred miles north of New York City) in the 1950s.

Dan Goodman
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