Use “some” and “any” correctly in English Language
One of the English language grammar areas that often causes confusion is about how to use “some” and “any” correctly in English.
Some and any have the same meaning:
They both refer to a quantity that is more than one and it is not important the exact quantity. This means that countable nouns will always be in the plural form or with an uncountable noun.
- Are there any more chairs?
- There are some chairs in the classroom.
- I met some new people at the party.
- Is there any water in the fridge? Water is uncountable
But not: I don’t have any apple (apple is singular and NOT possible with some or any)
If we need 4 chairs for example, we would ask:
Have you got four more chairs?
Or if we only need one, we would ask:
Have you got a chair?
Generally we can say that:
“Some” is used in affirmative sentences and
“Any” is used in negative sentences and in questions
But be CAREFUL! The word “some” is NOT affirmative and the word “any” is NOT negative.
– Have you got any homework today John?
– No, any This is incorrect.
– No, I have not got any. Here any is correct because the verb is negative
– No, none. This is the correct short answer.
Some is used with affirmative verb forms:
John has some new shoes
Any is used with negative verb forms:
I can’t find anywhere to park my car
Juan hasn’t got any brothers.
Ben didn’t eat anything last Sunday because he had an upset stomach
The compounds of some and any (somewhere, anywhere, someone, anyone , something, anything etc) function in exactly the same way.
EXCEPTIONS to the basic rules:
If the function of a question is to offer or demand something, we can use some rather than any.
Would you like some coffee?
Could you give me some help with my homework, please?
It is also possible to use any in affirmative sentences with the sense of an unlimited quantity:
Anybody in the office will give you the information, if you ask. (Here it doesn’t matter who you ask, they all will be able to help you)
– Which pizza do you want?
– I don’t mind, any one will be fine. (Here I don’t mind which of the many pizzas you give me. They all look good)
Some however, is used in a more limited sense:
– Somebody in the office will help you, if you ask. (Here it means that at least one person will be able to help you.)
– Which of the salads are nice?
– Some are very nice, but I don’t like the egg salad or the tuna salad. (I like some of them but not all of them)