Differences between Some and Any

-Some- and -Any- are two quantitative words in the English language and represent the two most used expressions of quantity in that language, which refer to “some” or “something of” and, in turn, are adverbs whose uses differ each. However, both terms are used to refer to undefined quantities, that is, they are used when the quantity referred to is not wanted or cannot be expressed precisely.

In this sense, in this article we present the differences between –some- and –any-, as well as the uses and structures of the sentences where both adverbs are used.

Some

-Some- is an adverb of quantity that is used in affirmative sentences before the noun and refers to countable quantities in the plural and uncountable quantities in the singular. In some very specific cases it can be used in interrogative sentences but only in cases where an offer is expressed when an affirmative answer is almost certainly expected or when permission is requested for something.

Examples:

  • There are some letters for you. (There are some cards for you) – Affirmative sentence.
  • I have some friends (I have some friends) – Plural countable affirmative sentence.
  • I have some money (I have some money) – Singular uncountable affirmative sentence.
  • Do you want some water? (Would you like some water?) – Interrogative sentence (offering).
  • Would you like some wine? (Would you like some wine?) Interrogative sentence (an affirmative answer is expected).
  • Can I take some bananas please? (Can I have some bananas please?) Interrogative sentence (permission is requested).

any

-Any- is an adverb of quantity that is used in negative or interrogative sentences before the noun as a general rule. Likewise, it is used to refer to countable quantities in the plural and uncountable quantities in the singular. In very specific cases -Any- is used in affirmative sentences but only in cases where the meaning of “anyone” is referred to.

Additionally, -Any- is used in conditional sentences with the meaning of “someone, something, something” and is also used in apparently affirmative sentences that have a negative meaning. These are sentences that contain a negative word such as -never-, -hardly ever- among others and therefore cannot have the verb in the negative form.

Examples:

  • I don’t have any friends – Singular countable negative sentence.
  • Do you have any money? (Do you have any money?) – Singular uncountable interrogative sentence.
  • If I had any money I would buy new shoes (if I had some money I would buy new shoes) – Conditional sentence.
  • I never drink any wine (I never drink any wine) – Affirmative phrase with negative meaning.

According to the above, it can be said that the main differences between -Some- and -Any- are:

  • As a general rule -some- is used for affirmative sentences while as a general rule -Any- is used for negative and interrogative sentences.
  • -Some- is used to ask and to offer while -Any- cannot be used to ask or to offer.
  • -Some- is not used in conditional sentences but –Any- is used in conditional sentences.

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