Everybody listen! Here's the scoop about everyone

Everybody listen! Here's the scoop about everyone
Source: Reusableart.com

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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  • I don't know about in your tradition, nut in mine, religious services using forms such as ---th disappeared circa 1980.

    Also, Job was not dead yet when he lamented worms eating his flesh and other misfortunes. I'm not sure to what Handel refers, but if it is to a corpse, it seems backward.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks, Jack. My tradition goes back and forth -- the "ths" are gone from many things, but music is still as written, and Handel used the th ending. As I understand the Job reference, it's "Even when my body has been destroyed, I will see God as myself." So much as I can understand it from here, anyway.

  • A wonderful post on your blog's seventh anniversary! Thank you.

    I have two observations, feel free to reject both.

    First, you write: "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."

    Hmmm. I always took that to be a comment about function. The player could fill and block the lanes, cut down angles, be physical, and generally be a large obstacle to the other team's offense. His function is to be a big body. So even a smallish player could be a "big body" if he had good skills on defense. In my youth I was a so-so neighborhood pick-up hockey player, and was never accused of being a big body. So I never saw it as a Canadian regionalism, just a sports commentary.

    Second, there's: "'And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.'"

    I always took it to mean that even in ruin and decay, God's work and purpose (as in the creation of man) can still be seen.

    As for everyone and everybody -- I use "everyone" when formal and "everybody" when informal. Just as you said; no difference in meaning, just tone.

  • In reply to Grundoon:

    You're welcome, Grundoon, and thank you for your intriguing comments. I could have phrased the hockey comment more clearly -- the announcers say "(name) is a big body," rather than "he has the kind of big body that can control the play physically," for instance.
    As for the biblical refrence, I like your point very much; I can see decay going on and still see some of God's work and purpose from here,, rather than waiting for, well, later.
    Everybody is good informal usage -- well done.

  • In reply to Grundoon:

    Excellent point about hockey. I remember comments about Chara being a big body. Also, some goalies fill the net better than others.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you. Zdeno Chara definitely was a big body. (Also a neighbor of Marian Hossa -- what block parties those must be.)

  • Congratulations, Margaret Serious!
    Yes, I also use "everyone" in a more formal way, and "everybody" more familiar. Thank you for another thoughtful post!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you, Weather Girl. Thoughtful is a fine compliment, especially from you,

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