Legion. An amalgamated journal.

A body → abody

Reading Cooper’s The Pioneers lately, I was struck by the frequent use of the phrase “a body” to indicate a speaker’s generalization of person. Witness:

“Dr. Todd is a comely man to look on, and dispu’t pretty. How well he seems in spectacles! I declare, they give a grand look to a body’s face.”

“… Och! Sargeant, sure it’s a great privilege to go to a mateing where a body can sit asy, widout joomping up and down so often, as this Mr. Grant is doing the same.”

“… Not that a body cares much for’t, as there’s more houses than one to live in.”

And so on. You can find plenty of other instances using the demon-magic of Google Books to pluck them out. Why is it, though, that our language has incorporated “somebody,” “nobody,” “anybody,” and “everybody,” but not “abody”? It would be such a useful replacement for the ostentatious “one”! Witness again:

Watching Obama’s inauguration reminds one that myth and symbol are not so far from reality.

… becomes …

Watching Obama’s inauguration reminds abody that myth and symbol are not so far from reality.

Consider this post first, final, and formal notification that I will be evangelizing the use of “abody” as a commonplace, and plan to use it in my own writing without any further explanation.

Garrett Dash Nelson

January 28th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

But perhaps you disagree

No responses so far

The room is, as yet, filled with smoke and apprehension.