Grammar Rules: Some and Any

We use some and any with uncountable nouns and plural nouns. The general rule is that you use "some" in positive sentences and "any" in negative sentences and questions.

"I have some ideas."
"I don't have any ideas."
"Do you have any ideas?"

However, we can also use "some" in questions.

"Would you like some tea?" (I expect the answer to be "Yes".)

When we use some in a question, we limit what we are offering the other person.

For example, "Can I get you something to drink? - Coffee, or tea?" means I am offering you a limited choice of things to drink.

When we use "any" in a question, we are not limiting the choice.

For example, "Would you like anything to drink?" includes a whole range of things to drink.
"Do you have any questions?" (You can ask me anything you like!)

We can also use any in positive sentences which have a negative meaning. We often use "any" with "hardly", "without" or "never".

"There's hardly any petrol left in the car - we need to go to a garage."
"He went out without any money on him."
"She never has any problem understanding."

We can also use "some" and "any" at the end of a sentence, as pronouns.

"Do you need any money for the shopping?"
"It's OK, but I've already got some." (some = some money)

"Who ate all the chocolates?"
"Not me. I haven't had any." (any = any chocolates)

Compound uses of some and any

We can combine some and any with other words:

Something - anything
Somewhere - anywhere
Someone - anyone
Somebody - anybody

The rules for using these are the same as the rules for using some and any.

"I need to find somewhere to live." (positive sentence)
"Is there anywhere you would recommend?" (question)
"I didn't know anyone at the party." (negative sentence)
"Somebody at the party spilt beer on the carpet." (we're not sure who)

Do you feel confident about quantifiers in English Check out our grammar exercise to check your understanding of some, any, no and a.

15 thoughts on “Grammar Rules: Some and Any

  1. dobai

    Hi. It is said that ANY is used with plural or UC nouns. Then it is said we use ANY with HARDLY. However, in the GMAT grammar book the following is sadi to be incorrect: Joan drank hardly any sodas. Can somebody explain why is this incorrect?

  2. Ber

    Thank you so much for your publications. They are very helpful! Do you have any explaining THESE, THOSE, THAT, THIS. Thanks!

  3. Clare Post author

    "Money" is an uncountable noun! I know it's strange, but you can't make "money" plural. The part of money that you can count is the currency. So you can say "five dollars" for example, but not "five moneys".

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