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Anybody vs. Nobody: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 8, 2023
"Anybody" refers to any person at all, while "nobody" means not a single person.

Key Differences

The term "anybody" is an indefinite pronoun that encompasses any person or an unspecified individual in a group. It is used to refer to a person without specifying who it is, offering a sense of inclusivity. Conversely, "nobody" is also an indefinite pronoun but conveys exclusion, indicating the absence of any person or not even a single individual.
When "anybody" is used in a sentence, it invites the possibility that someone may be capable or available for an action or situation. It opens up the potential for participation or presence. "Nobody," however, shuts down this potential, clearly stating that there is no person available, capable, or present.
In questions, "anybody" seeks to find at least one person who might meet the criteria being asked about. For example, asking "Is there anybody who can help?" implies the speaker is looking for any available person. "Nobody" is often used in statements to declare that there is no person who meets the criteria, as in "There was nobody who could help."
"Anybody" can often be found in positive contexts where the speaker expresses hope or the expectation of finding someone. It is also used in contexts where the barrier to entry is low. On the other hand, "nobody" is frequently used in negative contexts to highlight loneliness, exclusion, or a lack of volunteers or participants.
"Anybody" can be used to indicate that any person out of a vast or undefined set is capable or selected, which offers a universal aspect. "Nobody," in contrast, is definitive in stating that within the entire set of possible individuals, not one is selected or capable, imparting a sense of absoluteness to the statement.

Comparison Chart

Grammatical Function

Indefinite pronoun for any person
Indefinite pronoun for no person


Inclusion of any individual
Exclusion of all individuals

Use in Sentences

Can be affirmative or interrogative
Primarily negative


Indicates possibility
Indicates impossibility


Often used where any response is acceptable
Used where there are no responses

Anybody and Nobody Definitions


Any person or individual, no matter who.
Anybody could see that the solution was incorrect.


Used to indicate the absence of any person.
There was nobody at the meeting.


Any person at random; no matter who.
The prize could go to anybody.


Not a single person; no one.
Nobody was home when I arrived.


An unspecified person in a given context.
If anybody calls, tell them I'm not available.


No person whatsoever; zero people.
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.


Whoever it may concern or involve.
Anybody is better than no one at a job like this.


Not any person; used to deny or negate.
Nobody could solve the puzzle.


Used to refer to a person, when it does not matter who.
Can anybody answer this question?


Insignificant or unimportant person.
He's a nobody in the vast field of applicants.


A person of consequence
Everybody who is anybody was at the reception. See Usage Notes at anyone, every, he1.


A person of no importance or influence.


Not any person; the logical negation of somebody.
I asked several people, but nobody knew how.
As nobody who is not blind can have failed to notice, I had my hair cut just yesterday.


Someone who is not important or well-known.


No person; no one; not anybody.


A person of no influence or importance; an insignificant or contemptible person.


A person of no influence


Is "nobody" singular or plural?

"Nobody" is also treated as singular.

Is "nobody" used in questions?

"Nobody" is generally not used in questions.

Can "anybody" be used in positive sentences?

Yes, "anybody" can be used in positive contexts.

Can "anybody" and "nobody" be used interchangeably?

No, they cannot; "anybody" is inclusive, while "nobody" is exclusive.

Does "nobody" imply the existence of a person?

No, it implies that there is not a single person.

Can "anybody" be used to ask for volunteers?

Yes, it's often used to ask if there's someone willing to volunteer.

Can "nobody" be a placeholder for an unknown person?

No, it indicates the absence of a person, not an unknown person.

Can "nobody" be used to express solitude?

Yes, it can emphasize the state of being alone.

Can "anybody" be used to address a group?

Yes, when the individual identity within the group doesn’t matter.

Does "anybody" have a plural form?

No, it is an indefinite pronoun without a plural form.

Can "anybody" refer to people in general?

Yes, it can refer to any person or people in general.

Is "anybody" singular or plural?

"Anybody" is treated as singular.

Is "nobody" a negative term?

Yes, it negates the presence of any person.

What does "anybody" mean in legal documents?

It refers to any person who is subject to the document's terms.

Does "nobody" have a plural form?

No, it does not have a plural form.

Can "anybody" be used in formal writing?

Yes, it is acceptable in both formal and informal contexts.

Can "anybody" and "nobody" be subjects in a sentence?

Yes, both can act as the subject of a verb.

How does "nobody" impact verb conjugation?

The verb following "nobody" is also conjugated in the singular.

Is "nobody" less formal than "no one"?

They are generally considered interchangeable, with no significant formality difference.

How does "anybody" impact the verb conjugation in a sentence?

The verb is conjugated in the singular form.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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