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Some or any

These two words are very, very common in English. They are used for just about everything. Both words are determiners and are used to refer to an indefinite number or quantity of a thing or a person. The words CANNOT be used interchangeably and follow a set of rules. First thing is: we use these words with plural nouns NOT singular nouns or nouns in singular form. ‘I have some friends over‘ CORRECT ‘I have some friend over’ INCORRECT. What is the difference?


(1) ‘Some’: in general, is used in affirmative clauses or sentences, so it’s not used for questions, generally.
  • I would like some new workers to join our team. = affirmative sentence
  • I’ve got some new books. = affirmative sentence
  • James has some free courses to give out to the class.


(2) ‘Some’: is sometimes used with a singular countable noun when the noun refers to an unknown thing or person;
  • Some guy just drove through a red light and nearly hit me.
  • There has to be some skill I can be good at.
  • I believe he’s working for some company in London.
  • Some planet out there in the galaxy will have life forms.


(3) ‘Any’; is mostly used in non-affirmative clauses or sentences, especially in questions and negatives. 
  • Do you have any milk left? = Non-affirmative clause (question)
  • Maria doesn’t have any notes, can she copy you? = non-affirmative clause
  • Hello, do you have any new models in the shop? = non-affirmative clause (question)
  • She didn’t require any of them. = non-affirmative clause.



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