Good night, my some-corpus one

We’ve been enjoying a discussion over at Language Log on the difference between the words someone and somebody.

Maybe Meredith Willson’s Marian the librarian’s song “Good Night, My Someone,” from the musical The Music Man, illustrates a point that might be made for the ear making the distinctive decision, a vote for tone:

“Good night, my someone, good night, my love…”

Of course, you have to hear the song, not merely read it, but “good night, my somebody” somehow doesn’t sound the same, carries a different tone, and suits the romantic intent far less, introducing as it does, indeed, the corpus, which, from a grammar of romance, should not come into play too early in someone’s love song.

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