It’s just a set phrase. Vem som helst is ’anyone’, när som helst is ’whenever’, var som helst is ’wherever’ etc.
It looked extremely weird at first glance, but then I suddenly realized that the Russian translations are somewhat similar: кто угодно = vem som helst = "anyone", когда угодно = när som helst = "whenever", где угодно = var som helst = "wherever" :-)
How about: -whoever- as a closer translation. It is used in my part of the english speaking world.
I assume whomever is also accepted (even if its use is somewhat controversial in English)?
the clues given below the phrase show one possible answer as 'just anybody' but then this is marked as wrong.
Hints are given for all contexts, so not all hints work everywhere. You need to translate vem som helst as just anybody when there is a negation, otherwise not. There's a longer explanation somewhere else that I can't find right now, but here's one example: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6192255
So am I correct in thinking that "inte vem som helst" means "not just anyone" rather than "not anyone" which would imply "no one"?
Thank you I can see there is a difference. It's just difficult to pick the right phrase sometimes when they seem to be interchangeable and mean much the same.
What is the difference between "vem som helst" and "någon"? As per the introductory text for Determiners, någon can also mean anyone.
vem som helst has a meaning more like 'whoever', 'whosoever', it's a wider category which is open to "each and every" one.
någon is more specific. It can translate into English as either somebody or anybody depending on context, because we don't have the same rules for how they are distributed.
Vem som helst får komma – Anyone may come, Just anyone may come, Whoever may come
Någon kan komma – Someone might come
Kommer någon att komma? – Will anyone come? Will someone come?
Could you please elaborate on the different connotations of vem som helst and någon? I'm not 100% sure how to identify when or in what situations/circumstances I should use one or the other.
Is one more common than the other, or is one more formal? Are there particular situations where you would only use one and not the other? Or are they fairly interchangeable (in some cases)? I don't think I'm articulating my question very well, I just want to understand when it is and is not appropriate or natural-sounding to use vem som helst and någon I guess?
(I'm always worried about sounding like one of those people who think synonym entries in a thesaurus are all interchangeable when they're not and have distinct connotations that change the meaning or the sense of the sentence in question and stuff like that. I just want to make sure I understand the nuances of the synonyms I come across.)
No, that doesn't work at all. I don't even think you'd be understood.
I can relate it to the Dutch: 'Wie dan ook' Which is not a literal translation, that would be something like: 'Who than likewise'. But it helps me memorising the fixed expression.