Author’s note: Thanks to fellow blogger MM for this idea. It seems a good choice for publication on the seventh anniversary of the beginning of this blog, which first appeared on July 14, 2014.
When you are addressing a group of people, do you call them “everyone” or “everybody?” Does that really matter? Is it a regional sort of thing?
Bing.com and The Free Dictionary, sources of my first computer answers, state that “There is no difference in meaning between everyone and everybody, but everyone is more common in written English, and everybody is more common in spoken English.”
My old faithful dictionary, the huge Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary which adorns the top of its own stand and never really closes, has a distinction: while “everyone,” one word, is defined as everybody, “every one,” two words, is defined as every person or thing.
Occasionally, I’ll notice a hockey announcer referring to a large player as “a big body” — not having one, but being one. That seems to be a regional Canadian usage, considering who I’ve heard say it.
So it differs sometimes among regions and across time — the great verse in the book of Job, which Handel turned into “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth,” says
“And though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
That’s a deeper theological point than I have room (or tools!) to discuss here, but it seems to me to be arguing for the destruction of the human body not meaning the destruction of the person.
So which version of these words is correct to use? Every one, everybody!
Thanks for reading along, whether you’ve been here for seven years now as I have or whether you just “got Serious” recently.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
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