Use of ‘some & any’

(Explanation and rules about ‘some’ and ‘any’)

Table of contents – ‘some & any’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Usage of ‘some’
  2. Usage of ‘any’
  3. Further explanations and exercises

When is ‘some’ used?

As a basic rule, some appears in positive sentences with uncountable nouns or (countable) nouns in the plural. It also occurs in specific questions. In detail, it is utilized as follows:

  1. Use of ‘some’ in sentences with an uncountable noun:
    • “No, I can’t help you at the moment. I’ve got some work to do.”
    • “Yesterday, I won some money.”
  2. Use of ‘some’ in sentences with a countable noun in the plural:
    • “There are some bananas left. Have one!”
    • Some girls like to spend hours in the bathroom.”
  3. Pay attention:some’ is also the standard choice in questions where we offer or ask for something (details under politeness questions):
    • “Would you like some coffee?”
    • “Could I have some water, please?”
  4. In conjunction with the terms ‘day’ and ‘time’ to express an unspecified point in the future:
    • Someday, I’ll visit the USA to see the Grand Canyon.”
      • 'some' may also be a part of a compound, as is the case here.
    • “Could you please help me with my computer?” – “Maybe sometime in a few weeks.”
      • Similarly, it appears as a compound adverb here. Careful: The phrase ‘some time’ (written separately) conveys a different meaning.

When is ‘any’ used?

In negations, sentences with a negative meaning, and questions, any is used in most cases. Specifically, it appears according to the following rules:

  1. Examples of using ‘any’ in negated statements and sentences with negative sense:
    • “I’m sorry, there aren’t any tickets left.”
      • negated statement
    • “She refused to give any answers.”
      • negative meaning
  2. any’ also occurs in questions:
    • “Do you have any idea where they could be?”
    • “Have you got any information about the project?”
  3. Likewise, ‘any’ is often used after the word ‘if’ (for details, compare the if-clause type 1):
    • If you have any questions, call me!”
    • “Let me know if there are any messages for me.”
  4. Additionally, ‘any’ can express that something does not matter:
    • “I know you would like to borrow one. Just take any book you want.”
    • “Let’s go to the cinema. What do you want to see?” – “Doesn’t matter; any film is ok.”

Further explanations related to ‘some’ and ‘any’

The following explanations refer to the topic ‘Explanation and rules for using ‘some’ and ‘any’’ and may be helpful too: