Hello all, 

1. The police haven't confirmed if the man has _______ to do with the murder.
A. something
B. anything

2. She lost herself in doing homework so that she didn't hear ____ knocking at the door at all.
A. somebody
B. anybody

How I look at the two or such questions?
The two questions can boil down to one,
“How should one use “some-“ and “any-“ in a sentence correctly?”
In fact, the two are questions raised by several English beginners who are enthusiastic about English grammar. They insist that both A and B are correct in each question. It is the result of their research. I don’t think it is meaningful for a non-native who has just grasped a few grammar rules to do “research” on the language; instead, just following natives is sensible, --- safe and sound.

What are my answers to the two questions?
For question 1, the key must be B. I see no reason to justify the option A.
For question 2, I would pick B, though I feel A may be possible in some unusual cases.

What is my question?
Whatever the answer is, what would “some-” mean behind in both 1 & 2?

My try first:
1. something: We need to presume that there is a group of things that are against “the man”, and the police have found one at least, and they want to confirm it. --- It is absurd.
2. somebody: Like 1, we need to presume that there is a certain group of people who are to knock at the door, --- and it is also an unlikely scenario.

Many many thanks.

Last edited by Mengxin_2009
Original Post
Mengxin_2009 posted:

1. The police haven't confirmed if the man has _______ to do with the murder.
A. something
B. anything

2. She lost herself in doing homework so that she didn't hear ____ knocking at the door at all.
A. somebody
B. anybody          [. . .]

What is my question?
Whatever the answer is, what would “some-” mean behind in both 1 & 2?

Hello, Mengxin,

You're right that the default, "unmarked" choices for each question are "anything" and "anybody," respectively. However, "something" and "somebody" are also possible, given the right context. Those choices are not ungrammatical.

"Something" would work in (1), for example, if there were an assertion in the context that the man had something to do with the murder.  The police, the sentence is saying, haven't confirmed if that is the case.

"Somebody" would work in (2), similarly, if it were established in the context that somebody was knocking at the door while she was lost in doing her homework. The sentence is saying she did not hear that that was taking place at the time.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Thank you, David. 

I've compared my "My fry first" with your reply, I think what you say is more concise. 

in (1), the first impression "something" gives me is the police are entrapping "the man", while in (2) is, "somebody" is more open to discussion, but it needs some unusual context  to bolster the whole sentence. 

That said, suppose the right context is given or is established, what is the usual way to say what is suggested by the "something" or "somebody" in each case? 

 -----------------

1. The police haven't confirmed if the man has _______ to do with the murder.
A. something
B. anything

A:  The police haven't confirmed if the man has a particular thing to do with the murder.  ---- ? 

2. She lost herself in doing homework so that she didn't hear ____ knocking at the door at all.
A. somebody
B. anybody

A: She lost herself in doing homework so that she didn't hear a particular person knocking at the door at all. ---- ?

This is what the two mean to me at first sight.

So we need some particular context respectively.

 

 

Last edited by Mengxin_2009

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