Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Everyone and Everybody

everyone-pdEveryone vs Everybody

English is a very tricky language even for native English speakers. There are some problems of speech that are too complex to address such as the context of certain words, voicing (like passive or active voice) as well as, the interchangeability of other terms. If these concepts are familiar to some, they are absolutely alien to more people who don’t use English as a first language. These issues are seen when comparing the words somebody to someone, nobody to no one, and everybody to everyone.

But in the case of the latter, the difference is very subtle. Even American college graduates will have a hard time determining the proper usage of the two words, unless you are the English professor of one of the schools they attend of course.

By definition, most sources will tell you that both everyone and everybody share the same definition and that many thesauruses usually relate the two pronouns as synonyms under any context. ‘Everyone’ would basically mean every person. Utmost care must only be observed when splitting the word into two like ‘every one.’ The same goes with ‘every body.’ These would imply something else ‘“ the words would refer to each single person in a certain group or congregation.

The main difference with these pronouns is how they are used. Collective is a term that describes a collection or the entirety of something. It is opposite to acknowledging something as single or separate individuals. For example, when a teacher addresses to all the students in the congregation he will say ‘Everyone is required to attend the symposium.’ In this sense, the pronoun everyone is used to invite every single individual in the congregation. It is synonymous to saying that ‘each one’ is invited.

On the contrary, everybody is often used differently. Let’s say, ‘Everybody joined the symposium.’ This is describing that the entirety or the collective number of students as a whole served as one single entity. This difference is confusing at start but once you get the hang of it then it will be a piece of cake.

Overall, discerning everybody from everyone is very delicate. The disparity is so slight that it is the one causing the confusion. Because of such, the two words are now accepted by many grammarians as one as the same word. Many sources either online or offline also consider using the two words interchangeably.

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.


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6 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting website, and this article is very interesting in particular. It’s funny how often these words are mixed up, but it can usually be allowed because of the very fine line that separates the two. I use the words interchangeably, but this article left me thinking a little about all the mistakes that I and other people in society get wrong…

  2. Oh, this is the first time I’ve heard about the difference between these two words. It’s so interesting. I am wondering that speaking of the first conclusion, it means that everybody can be used as both singular and plural pronoun, doesn’t it ?

  3. Bich Ngoc,

    Both terms are always conjugated as singular: everyone hurts, everybody hurts.

  4. So, if I understand correctly, the REM song ‘Everybody Hurts’ is grammatically incorrect?

  5. Learning other languages actually helps… In Spanish the difference is very clear… I kinda knew the difference without reading this article…

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