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Everybody vs. Everyone

My mother and I were discussing the use of “everybody” and “everyone” at dinner this evening. Are these two words interchangeable? Is one more informal than the other? I have a B.A. in English, but oddly have never seen this topic, nor have I been asked about this. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

  • January 22, 2007
  • Posted by susie
  • Filed in Usage

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I love to say everyone and not (sigh) that other word. I hate the other word. Why? simple. I HATE THE NUMBER EIGHT!!! And as you can imagine if people don't say everyone THAT REALLY TICKS ME OFF!!! Alright i'm finished. teacher: Did everybody finish? Me: OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

Super Squid December 4, 2014, 7:06pm

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I've just noticed this from dogreed way back in 2010:

' The words "everyone" and "everybody" are not entirely interchangeable. For example, the phrase "God bless us, everyone" is generally taken to mean "God bless us all," while the phrase "God bless us, everybody" might be taken to mean "hey y'all, God bless us." '

Except that the standard phrase isn't "God bless us, everyone", but "God bless us, every one".

As has been pointed out by douglas.bryant and others, "everyone" is not the same as "every one".

But this seems to be a common mistake: the best-known instance of the "God bless us" quote is no doubt that from Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol'. If Tiny Tim had indeed said "God bless us, everyone!", as is falsely quoted in Wikipedia and elsewhere, his meaning would in fact have been rather like a southerner's "hey y'all, God bless us." - the one dogreed gives to "everybody".

But in fact, what Tiny Tim actually says was "God bless us, every one!", meaning something like "God bless us all," or "God bless us, each and every one of us" and which is repeated on the last page.

There's a discussion about this common misquotation, which goes back at least to the 1870s, here:

So it's back to the drawing board for that one. They are interchangeable. From Oxford Online:

Everyone = Every person: "everyone needs time to unwind."
Everybody = Every person: "everybody agrees with his views."

I see absolutely no subtle difference of meaning between those two example sentences.

douglas.bryant has already mentioned Fowler. In the entry on 'everyone, everybody' in The Merriam Webster Dictionary of English Usage, the only discussion is about what pronoun usually follows them - there is absolutely nothing about any possible difference in meaning or shade.

Look up 'everybody' in most dictionaries and usage books and they simply refer you to 'everyone'. If there were these differences people are talking about here, why do no dictionaries or usage books refer to them, I wonder? Why are there no usage notes explaining the difference?

Warsaw Will September 9, 2014, 6:49am

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logically, i would say, 'everyone' can be referred as 'each one of you'(in a group of people) and 'everybody' can be referred as 'all of you'(in a group of people)

both words are synonym. it depends to the people we want it to be pointed to.

sometimes, it is not about what books tell us. but, it is what or how we want it to be..

onez September 8, 2014, 2:08pm

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@Blue piano man - there certainly seems to be a bias towards using 'everyone' when talking about people present, and 'everybody' might possibly be used more to talk about people in general, but this distinction, seems to be largely disappearing. Even in your first example, 'everyone' is much commoner (in books, at least) that 'everybody', although admittedly, the difference is even bigger in your second example. It looks to be much more about changing fashion, than about subtle differences in meaning.

If you include 'present' in the second graph, 'everybody' drops out altogether, but the sample is so small as to be pretty meaningless.

Warsaw Will May 3, 2014, 6:20am

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Is this a good example?

Everybody is (All the people are) equal before the law. Everyone (Each one) in the room agreed to it.

Blue piano man May 2, 2014, 7:34pm

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This is an interesting thread. I suppose to sum up one could say:

a) it depends on the context and the surrounding words; and
b) personal preference as to what sounds best.

I doubt that Eddie Cochrane would have had such a hit with C'mon Everyone as he did with C'mon Everybody.

James Ashburton January 9, 2013, 11:32am

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@Johnson G - whichever takes your fancy; there is no difference - Or are you just having a little joke? :). If you really have any doubts that they are the same, just check a dictionary. Oxford Online, for example, defines them both as 'every person' without qualification. Nothing about whether they include the speaker or not.

Incidentally, a Google search shows:
"Come on everyone" - 11 million
"Come on everybody" - 1.2 million

Warsaw Will November 25, 2012, 5:17am

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So how would this sentenced be phrased?
Hey come on everyone/everybody,we are here to discuss and not to fight.

Johnson G November 24, 2012, 12:06pm

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Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary:
everybody = everyone
anybody = anyone
nobody = no one
somebody = someone

The main entries are under the "one" versions, probably because we tend to use them more than the "body" versions in spoken language. And Google Books Ngrams suggests this also been very much the case in print since about the 1930s.

I don't think any hypothesising can alter the fact that they are the same, and that the way we use them probably depends on the surrounding words rather than any nuance of meaning.

By the way, in dogreed's comparison of "God bless us, everyone" and "God bless, us everybody", I think that in the meaning he is suggesting for the first one, it should really be "God bless us, every one" - ie each and every one of us. So this doesn't prove any difference either.

Warsaw Will November 16, 2012, 6:30am

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Everyone is taking this far too seriously.
I have yet been able to find anyone, or anybody who can give an answer resolute.
If the sentence makes sense when you say it, then there is surely, no problem?

EmB November 14, 2012, 4:50pm

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Everyone was at the crime scene when it happened so everybody is a suspect. Wouldn't that be gramatically correct? As with matt, I am also speculating about the usage of 'hello everyone' vs 'hello everybody'. One is individualizing and the other is generalizing so should you say 'hello everyone'/ 'hello everybody'? Hello everyone(each and every one of you); Hello everybody (you all). Doesn't matter which one is used in that instance as far as I can see. They are interchangeable in some instances as above but not in others...Everyone is responsible for his/her own action. On the other hand it would be ackward for me to say 'everybody is responsible for his/her own action. In the latter case it would seem appropriate to change 'his/her to 'their' simply because of the generalization.

eve March 10, 2012, 12:19am

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Just by looking at the lengh of this discussion I though I'd give my opinion on the subject first I'd like to start off with a sentence!

Everybody was at the crime scene when it happened so everyone is a possible suspect!

As you can see I'm refering to everybody as a group of people, whereas when I say everyone is a possible suspect I'm saying that each indidual within that particular group is a suspect!

Lucas March 4, 2012, 7:31pm

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They way I heard it is that "everybody" is a big generalization of a group of people, and "everyone" is the emphasize each individual person.

Aaron Adrian October 23, 2011, 10:43am

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As someone mentioned earlier, using 'their' with singular nouns has been a part of English for hundreds of years. It may not sound as formal as some other options, but at this point it's definitely part of the language.

Of course it's a result of English not having a neuter singular third-person pronoun. Saying 'his or her' instead of 'their' is cumbersome and formal sounding, at least to me.

For example: 'Everyone did his or homework.' That doesn't sound very good to me. I see nothing wrong with using 'their' in that situation.

figs May 11, 2011, 7:04pm

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The main point you are missing is that both of these words command a verb for a SINGULAR noun. Everyone.....his/her - not Everyone....their

In all of these messages, I found only two of you who agree with me! How sad!

Cecelia April 8, 2011, 10:12am

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When I had had enough of my kids making noise and running around ,I would say," I want each and every ONE of you to sit down and be quiet, and I mean it".

Not each and everybody. ONE means the one listening to you plus others that fall into the same catagory. Of course they are all listening--but it has an individual impact on each person who hears it.

Dyhanne March 11, 2011, 5:26pm

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I'll disagree with "greed" and say that I believe the distinction between "everybody" vs. "everyone" to be on of an active vs. passive voice, i.e. subjective vs. objective.

In the example that's given by "greed": "the deadline was missed by the 'applicant'" vs. "the 'applicant' missed the deadline", I'd argue that it's appropriate to use "everyone" in the first example and "everybody" in the second as in the first example, "applicant" is the object of that sentence and in the second example, "applicant" is the subject.

I've often wondered, however, when using "everyone" vs. "everybody" in an apositive phrase such as, "Hello, 'everybody'", or "Hello, 'everyone'", which is appropriate. My guess is for "Hello, 'everyone.'" Any thoughts on the matter?

matt_demichele February 15, 2011, 2:11am

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I have to say I agree with Nonie--"everybody" seems to imply taking the group as a body while "everyone" puts more emphasis on taking the group as individuals. This is, however, a subtle difference, so that there is room for other opinions.

fmerton December 8, 2010, 5:20am

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And by "out familiarity" I clearly meant "our familiarity." Ain't typing the Dickens?

dogreed December 8, 2010, 5:05am

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The words "everyone" and "everybody" are not entirely interchangeable. For example, the phrase "God bless us, everyone" is generally taken to mean "God bless us all," while the phrase "God bless us, everybody" might be taken to mean "hey y'all, God bless us." That we understand the first phrase in one particular way only has more to do with out familiarity with Dickens than with word definitions.

But I disagree with RushanFrass who says, " 'Everyone’ is used in the passive voice while ‘everybody’ is used in the active voice…" (I also object to the casual use of the stray ellipsis, but let it pass.)

Bryan Garner says this:

"The point about the passive voice is that the subject of the verb doesn't perform the action of the verb. Instead you back into the sentence:

Passive: The deadline was missed by the applicant.
Active: The applicant missed the deadline."

Substitute "the applicant" with either "everyone" or "everybody." Both sentences are clear and grammatical; there is no difference in meaning.

The distinction between "everyone" and "everybody" is not passive versus active voice. It is a matter of an author's personal preference.

dogreed December 7, 2010, 10:34pm

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1. With the word everybody the subject is being considered as a collection or as one single unit.

2. With the word everyone, the subject is being considered as separate individuals, as in each individual.

aolaliadavid December 7, 2010, 6:27pm

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'Everyone' is used in the passive voice while 'everybody' is used in the active voice...

Mark.Roye November 1, 2010, 3:43pm

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The distinction in meaning between "everybody" and "everyone" does not exist. Lucas' answer would be correct for "everyone" versus "every one." But AO was correct: "everyone" and "everybody" are synonyms. Fowler does not distinguish between them. Nor does Garner. who says:

"Because the terms are interchangeable, euphony governs the choice in any given context."

Neither word is inherently more formal than the other. I have seen opinions elsewhere that one or the other is more formal—or more polite—but I have seen no real substantiation either way. I have found documentation that "everyone" is used more frequently than "everybody" in formal writing, but "everyone" is used more frequently overall, so I don't see this as definitive.

douglas.bryant May 19, 2010, 3:29pm

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Lucas has answered the question his comment ..i am sure it will help

samsonvictor_1 May 19, 2010, 7:11am

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AO, if it is irrelevant to you, why post.

Oddly, my second Bible, The St. Martin's Handbook, doesn't address this. As for me, I use "everyone" when I'm thinking 'more familiar' [i.e. tu vs. vu] and everybody when the case is less so.

chicoh March 17, 2009, 10:00am

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Taryn, "everybody" is not plural. It's "Everybody is going to the party", not "Everybody are going to the party", right?

porsche November 4, 2008, 10:18am

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i have been wondering the same thing. I recently learned that everybody actualy means the hole group were as everyone means each and every individual. Everyone does not have to mean each induvidual IN THE GROUP though. Also, everybody is plural and everyone is singular. but it can be easily changed around. and really is no big deal to say everyone or everybody. but i do agree in most cases everyone sounds much better.

taryn November 3, 2008, 3:36pm

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with -one or -body

I believe it's a matter of style and personal preference.

-one is used to speak of individuals, emphasizing a more abstract nature of the expression.
-body is more poetic for the LOOK of the stem, where the d and y stick out (no pun intended). This I learned in poetry, which attempts to render visible the abstract or less sensated. -body is more sensorious (sensory related), referring to physicality.

"Somebody's knock at the door." (I can hear: sense and human body physicality)
"Someone's at the door. Please go open the door." (I intuit or suspect an entity and locality)

Paul McCartney was on to something.

lastronin February 18, 2008, 2:17pm

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Is it the same with "someone" and "somebody"? Is there any substantial difference between them? I've just remember Paul McCartney's song "Let'em in": "Someone's knocking at the door, somebody is ringing the bell". Did he use "someone" and then "somebody" just to balance and contrast the sounds?

Fábio November 29, 2007, 2:59am

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Mario, that is incorrect. Chacun does not mean "everyone". It means "each one". French does not make the distinction you claim. Also, someone already posted that "everyone", one word, and "every one", two words, do not mean the same thing.

chuck EEE November 13, 2007, 9:53am

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I'm surprise that nobody thougt to compare with FOREIGN languages yet. Many languages have a very clear distinction between the two words used to translate these two.
In French for example (spoken not only in France, but also in Quebec, 1/2 of Belgium, 1/4 of Switzerland, 1/3 of Africa and many foreign territories and Island formerly attached to France... Guyana, Reunion, etc):

everyone is translated by 'chacun'.
everybody is translated by 'tous'.

Tous is clearly 'all of you', while 'chacun is clearly each of you individually.

I asked some kids in my apt. block, who are raised by a bilingual couple (EN and FR) and they confirmed they use these words aparts in English corresponding to the distinction they feel from the difference between the corresponding words in french.

I think there is also a strong differences, in languages like hungarian, esperanto, and many others. Who can confirm ?

Mario November 13, 2007, 8:09am

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Actually, Chuckret, when one says "each and every one of you", the words "every" and "one" are two separate words. It's not the word "everyone" at all. Think of it as "each one of you and every single one of you" If it were a single word "everyone" then the "...of you" wouldn't make any sense.

porsche September 1, 2007, 8:20pm

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I think that "everyone" seems more personal than "everybody"
For instance, if you were addressing a group of people and trying to get a point across, you might point to a number of the audience and say "This applies to each and everyone of you". (It's redundant, but we say it that way).
The other instance is addressing the same group of people and merely spreading out your arms and saying "This applies to everybody".
I feel that the impact of your statement is lost on many of the people in the second instance.

chuckret August 31, 2007, 4:16am

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Lucas seems to have answered the question correctly, accurately, concisely and in fewer words as well. Thank you Lucas.

gri August 2, 2007, 12:42pm

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Everybody, everyone...excuse me but I think that anyone who claims to discern a meaningful difference between those two is (amazingly) more bored than I am. English has synonyms. Lots of them. It's ok, we don't need to be able to split small piece of a split hair.

AO May 31, 2007, 9:57pm

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"their" with singular antecedents is not incorrect. It has been a part of English for 500 years. If it's good enough for Shakespeare, Austen, Byron and Swift it's good enough for me.

John May 30, 2007, 8:29pm

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The words everybody, and everyone are indefinite pronouns, and they are always singular. They should be used with his or her, but you could use "their" instead.
Example 1: Everybody has his or her own problems. Example 2: Everybody has their own problems. To be grammatically correct you should use the singular pronouns, his, her, he, she. "Their" is more likely to be used, but is actually incorrect. Some other indefinate pronouns: one, anyone, someone, each, anybody, somebody, nobody, neither, and either.

nakedmolerat1 May 30, 2007, 3:24pm

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I have been looking in to this and it seems that 'everybody' means the group whereas 'everyone' means each person in the group.

Lucas May 30, 2007, 8:26am

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I always thought that "everybody" might refer to something involving action that a "body" would do and everyone might mean just an individual.

betty.j.springer May 25, 2007, 10:29am

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I agree with JM. You generally tend to use 'everyone' when addressing a group of people that includes you. 'Everybody' sounds appropriate when used in the third person.

vindoshi April 19, 2007, 7:50am

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From what I know 'everybody' tends to generalize, e.g., Hello everybody --you are not addressing to each person whereas if you use 'Hello everyone' each individual is being addressed.

Guillermina February 3, 2007, 7:37am

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I've always thought that "everyone" is best used when the crowd includes me, and "everybody" is more third person.

But that could be completely incorrect.

JM January 31, 2007, 1:07pm

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The only difference I've ever noticed is that (at least in British English) EVERYBODY is less formal than EVERYONE.

Dave Rattigan January 23, 2007, 6:58pm

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hey you i had the same question. we came to no answer. becauuse it is the way world of the universe. you know? i like totally understand your pain. i think that everyone is everything within ourselves and our human organs. when our organs join, you know they are in unison. everyone. everything. every where. every o n e. i just know this is the answer. just look into your heart and you will find that you yourself has the answer within yourself. within everyone within everybody. within every one. within every body. our bodies are key to the answer at krishna copy you will find the answer to the freakin universe. i have found it and so shall you.

alskdfj asldkjfsldk January 23, 2007, 1:28am

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I seem to remember a long discussion about this that eventually came down to the notion that while some people "feel" some kind of difference in their own usage, the two terms are essentially synonymous.

Then we got off on the difference between "everyone" and "every one" and that was that...

chris January 23, 2007, 12:05am

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Yes     No