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  • Do you live anywhere near him?
  • Do you live somewhere near him?

Is there any difference between these two sentences?

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4 Answers 4

Somewhere refers to a specific place while anywhere refers to, well, any place. However, it is one of the endearing (or frustrating) traits of English that those two can mean the same thing at the same time. Sometimes.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy sings of "Somewhere over the rainbow," which refers to a specific place of happiness she might someday visit. She is imagining a single location.

In the song "Anywhere I Go" the neo-ska / permanently stoned band Slightly Stoopid talks about "Anywhere I go I choose to be with you," meaning wherever "I" go, be it Kalamazoo or Djibouti, "I" will choose to be with "you". This could be any location.

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They can mean the same thing sometimes, indeed; but not anytime. –  Gorpik Jun 14 '12 at 11:54

Aside from the meanings listed in other answers, there is a subtle connotation switch when using them in the sentences you are asking about:

Do you live anywhere near him?

This is usually spoken as one of the following:

Do you live anywhere near him?

Do you live anywhere near him?

A rewording:

Do you even live close to this guy?

The suggestion is one of incredulousness and is often said after someone made a claim that he did live near him but now that they have traveled an hour or so the speaker is frustrated and needs clarification or reassurance.

Do you live somewhere near him?

This holds none of the connotations above and just simply means, "Do you live close to him?"

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I agree with Robusto. As to your question, yes, those two sentences are asking the same question. Maybe the definitions of some and any will clear it up a little...

some: used to refer to someone or something that is unknown or unspecified

any: [ usually with negative or in questions ] used to refer to one or some of a thing or number of things, no matter how much or many

Note that any may at times mean some

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As Robusto says, somewhere is a location within a defined category (Somewhere at home, Somewhere in the city, Somewhere on Earth). Anywhere is any location (Have you seen my watch anywhere?, I can't find it anywhere, Anywhere is fine by me).

They can be used interchangeably, but only in some instances. They do definitely have two different meanings, but sometimes those meanings overlap, as in your example.

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