"someone, somebody, somewhere, something"

Ju

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I googled the following examples grom Cambridge dictionary.

1. I know someone who gives piano lessons. (a specific person)

2. Somebody has obviously made a mistake. (general, we don’t know who)

3. Can you hear something?

4..There was no mistaking the smell. Burning. There was a fire somewhere.

Does it mean "someone, somebody, somewhere, something" are always singular?

Thanks.
 

Barb_D

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"Someone" and "somebody" both take the singular.

In your example, "something" is an object, so you don't know what form of the verb it takes, but yes, it does take the singular. Something is going on. Something is burning.

Can you write a sentence with "somewhere" as the subject?

Note your question, but: I would use either "someone" or "somebody" in those sentences with no difference in meaning.
 

Ju

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"Someone" and "somebody" both take the singular.

In your example, "something" is an object, so you don't know what form of the verb it takes, but yes, it does take the singular. Something is going on. Something is burning.

Can you write a sentence with "somewhere" as the subject?

Note your question, but: I would use either "someone" or "somebody" in those sentences with no difference in meaning.

I know somewhere in school has something going wrong. Please pay attention.
 

tedmc

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There are exceptions though, as I found out from a recent thread which goes something like:

Someone did something for their(plural) own benefit.
 

GoesStation

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There are exceptions though, as I found out from a recent thread which goes something like:

Someone did something for their(plural) own benefit.

Their is a singular pronoun in this sentence.
 

Tdol

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I know somewhere in school has something going wrong. Please pay attention.


I know something is going wrong somewhere in school.
 

Matthew Wai

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'Their' means 'his' or 'her' when the gender of 'someone' is unknown.
 

tedmc

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Its being used an arbitrary substitute for "his or her" does not mean it is singular.
 
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Matthew Wai

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It is singular, whether you like it or not.
 

Matthew Wai

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OK. It functions as a singular possessive pronoun.
 

GoesStation

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Unfortunately, the arbitrary exception has been accepted by dictionaries.

It would be unfortunate if lexicographers neglected their duty to describe the language as it is used.
 

Barb_D

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And as it WAS used, for centuries. The use of "he" for a person of unknown gender started in the 1800s and persisted through the 1900s, but is largely gone now.
 

GoesStation

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My mother, who learned English as a second language, found using masculine pronouns as neuter ones perfectly natural. Her native language doesn't usually use personal subject pronouns, so she may have had a weaker mental link between pronoun gender and the physical kind. :)

I prefer their and ​them.
 

Ju

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When it's on examination paper, what should I answer, 'is' or 'are'?

Eg.

1. Someone Is / are in trouble.

2. Somebody is / are in trouble.

Thanks.

.
 

Tdol

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It's functionally singular, but we still don't say "they is".

We don't, but that doesn't make someone has lost their bike wrong today for many people. Maybe with the changes in attitudes towards gender we may end up saying they is.
 

Barb_D

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When it's on examination paper, what should I answer, 'is' or 'are'?

Eg.

1. Someone Is / are in trouble.

2. Somebody is / are in trouble.

Thanks.

.
I thought I'd answered that in the second post in the thread.
 
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