This week I am going to keep the train going by addressing two more very similar words: everybody and everyone. Essentially these two words mean the same and so are interchangeable. Thus, the problems with their use do not arise in confusing one word with the other. Rather the most common problem with their use involves subject-verb agreement.
Everybody and everyone can each be both singular and plural pronouns, depending on their use. Hence we have the confusion. Writers usually use the singular form, even if they don’t realize it, and so a good rule of thumb is always to use a singular verb or pronoun unless communicating a plurality is specifically desired.
Consider the example sentence in cropped graphic above. Such a construction appears quite commonly in spoken English and so is easily accepted. However, the conventions of written English are not as yielding. Verbs must agree with their subjects, and pronouns must agree with their antecedents.
In the case of the example sentence above, their is plural but its antecedent (everybody) is singular. Clearly all the conference attendees do not share the same research to present; they each have their own individual projects. That’s why everybody is singular. The writer should accordingly rewrite the sentence.
Everybody and everyone are often one, meaning that they share the same meaning and are often singular pronouns. Make sure that your writing has both subject-verb agreement and pronoun-antecedent agreement. That makes more effective technical writing, and that makes a more effective presentation of not only your message but also yourself and your brands in the minds of your audience.