For example: something , everything, anything, nothing ... special

someone , everyone , anyone,, no one ... special

somebody , everybody , anybody , nobody ...special

  • A special something? A special somebody? Your post makes no sense. Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:32
  • 1
    I believe it is an ellipsis of something/someone/etc (that/which is) special/etc Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:32
  • 5
    I think your question is the same as this one about something red. Have a look.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:35
  • Here's a suggestion to (maybe) improve this question: Ask us why is it "something wicked this way comes" versus "a wicked something this way comes" and likewise "a wicked wind is blowing" versus "a wind wicked is blowing."
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:35
  • This other question, When can I postpose an adjective and when is it imperative? is probably relevant too.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Mar 23, 2016 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


Items like “something”, "everything", "nowhere" etc. are compound determinatives. There is a constraint on the position of certain modifiers called 'restrictors' that can be used to modify such compounds. The restrictors (adjectives or certain nominals) cannot occur in pre-head position because of the fused nature of the construction and are forced into post-head position, with only "else" allowed between them and the head:

"Nothing (else) significant"; "everything gold", "somewhere beautiful", "nowhere special", "somebody rich" and the like.


All those compound words with -one/-body/-thing are pronouns, indefinite pronouns, and an adjective after them is a normal strucure such as

  • something beautiful, something interesting.

You can make such structures plausible if you think of shortened relative clauses

  • something that is interesting > something interesting.

Indefinite pronouns Link

Adjectives Link

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    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 22:02

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