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Say for example you are saying "He takes the rubber ball and whips it, trying to hit something with it."

Is it correct to say "something" when what can be hit is a person or a thing?

Or do I have to say "He takes the rubber ball and whips it, trying to hit someone or something with it."

  • No problem hitting some unspecified object and calling it something. – Yosef Baskin Feb 16 '17 at 17:34
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If the intended target includes both people and non-people, something is acceptable. Another example:

If you fire that weapon into that brush where that platoon took cover, you're liable to hit at least something.

The implication is that you could just as easily hit a person as you might hit gear, clothing, etc.

It's admittedly ambiguous, however. To be more clear, you would use both.

He takes the rubber ball and whips it, trying to hit something or someone with it.

In some contexts, the someone is added for drama.

He jabbed the stick into the darkness, trying to hit something... or someone.

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This is an expression in English (try to hit something) that I think is slightly amusing. "Something" is any thing that stops the throw or missile.
Reverso Context

"He takes the rubber ball and whips it, trying to hit someone or something with it."

This seems excessive. "Something" will always do, unless there is a specific purpose for the throwing or loosing (a missile).

Try to hit the center of the target, and not somebody a kilometer away.

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