someone/ anyone

Which sentence is correct:

  1. Have you ever met someone famous?
  2. Have you ever met anyone famous?
    Could be both correct?
    Thank you for your time!

Both are acceptable.

Could both be correct?

Usually we would use ‘have you ever met anyone …’ when asking a question, but in this case it is permissible to say ‘someone famous’.

Nice one this - just to add -

In your sentences Antonella, by using ‘someone’ the questioner is asking about a person that has already been mentioned and wants to know more. By using ‘anyone’ the questioner is just asking about no one in particular and is a sort of throwaway question.

To provide what I hope is further clarification…

“… is asking about a person that has already been mentioned…” The ‘person already mentioned’ is not the ‘someone’ being asked about, of course (otherwise the speaker would say, “Have you ever met xxxx?”). A famous person has been mentioned and now the speaker is inquiring whether the listener has also met someone of a similar standing.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

I wanted to share some helpful information with my fellow members and guests.

  1. “Is there SOMEone in the room?” = It carries the suggestion that the speaker already knows there is someone in the room but wishes to know who it is. [My note: Perhaps the speaker heard a noise coming from the room.]

  2. “Is there ANYone in the room?” = This question does NOT carry that suggestion. [My note: the speaker has no idea. He just wants to know before he enters the room.]


***** I have made up these dialogues. They work for me. I cannot speak for anyone else.

Mona: I met the Queen yesterday when she visited our school!
James: Wow!
Mona: How about you? Have you ever met ANYone famous?
James: Why do you ask?
Mona: I just wanted to know. So what is the answer?
James: No.

Mona: Welcome to London. May I ask where you are from?
James: Hollywood.
Mona: THE Hollywood? The one where they make all those movies?
James: That’s right.
Mona: I have read that movie stars walk on the sidewalks in Hollywood. So tell me: Have you ever met SOMEone famous? I bet that you have, haven’t you?
James: No way! Maybe the stars used to walk around in Hollywood in the 1930s. And maybe even in the 1940s. But definitely no more!

P.S. Mr. Dixson admits that the subtle difference is difficult for foreign learners. So he says that “any” is the “more natural form” and “will serve satisfactorily on all occasions.”

I’m not surprised that the subtle difference is classed as ‘difficult for foreign learners’ given that the distinction between the two frequently doesn’t exist for native English speakers.

I am worried about these two statements -

(1) is in my opinion bad advice for a learner and (2) I can’t agree with.


Perhaps I could have phrased it better. What I meant to convey was that there was no conscious thought of a distinction. The one to use comes naturally, and if it doesn’t, then either is appropriate.
Possibly that’s not your experience, but it certainly is mine.


Your comment -

has depressed me further. Certainly what you have learnt at your mother’s knee as a native speaker in choices of word or constructions comes to mind automatically but what about the poor learners? Shouldn’t they get a bit of help?


Hi Gussie,

I wasn’t for a moment suggesting that they shouldn’t be helped to understand the differences - I was simply pointing out the reality that many native English speakers, unlike Canadian, would find both versions acceptable in equal measure (even though they might automatically select the right one if they were using it themselves.)

[color=blue] Your colossal stupidity has once again been amply demonstrated! I hope you are seriously considering leaving here soon. Otherwise, I will be the one leaving. Life is too short to continue dealing with a person like you.
Also, you are not doing the students any favor, especially if they don’t realize that you are a very bad ‘teacher’.

More mud-slinging and bluster.
There are a number of weak points in your diatribe. Others will spot them, but I suspect you’ll misinterpret which points I’m referring to.