What's the difference between SOME and ANY? How can you avoid making mistakes? Which is correct? We'll go over everything you need to know about these confusing English words in this grammar lesson!
For more practice, check out:
Uncountable Nouns: https://youtu.be/tjPoypKI11g
What's the difference? Playlist: https://youtu.be/qp54ZV5RqPU
10 Common Grammar mistakes: bit.ly/10GrammarMistakes
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
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Do you have any questions about when to use ‘some' and ‘any'? I have some helpful tips for you today. Hey there I'm Emma from mmmEnglish. Now these two words, they're very common English words that are often confused and misused by English learners. And although they seem to have very similar meanings, they're not often interchangeable so it's important to know which word to use and when to use it.
In this video I'm going to clear up some of that confusion so that you can avoid making those mistakes in the future. We'll go through the meaning of ‘some' and ‘any' the general uses and some of the exceptions to the rules so make sure you keep paying attention throughout the video. There's going to be a quiz at the end.
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The first thing you need to know is that we use ‘some' and ‘any' before plural and uncountable nouns. And we do it to talk about a certain number or amount of something when we don't actually know exactly how much or how many of that thing we want.
I need to buy some bread.
I'm saying that I need to buy an amount of bread but I'm not being specific, I'm not saying exactly what number or amount I need.
I need to buy some bread.
Is there any pasta left?
Now again we want to know if there's pasta left, but I don't really care about the specific amount, I just want to know if there is an amount.
Now because ‘some' and ‘any' are both used in quite similar situations, it's often difficult to know which one you should use, right? So we're going to go over the general grammar rules to help you decide which one to use. But definitely stick around until the end of this lesson, there are some exceptions to these rules that you need to know. And I'll get to those in a little bit but later, later, later on, I've also got a quiz that's going to help you to test what you've learned in this lesson.
So as a general rule, we use ‘some' with positive or affirmative sentences.
I left some soap for you in the kitchen!
Please treat us with some respect.
He said he would get the cat some food from the shop.
Now we can use ‘any' with negative sentences and questions, okay?
Did you leave any soap for me?
Do you have any respect for us?
Did you get the cat any food from the shop?
So that's pretty simple right? There are some clear rules there but like many things in English, there are several exceptions to this rule as well. Now this is where the fun starts. Alright take a look at this question.
Can you pick up some coffee on your way home?
We use ‘some' and it's a question. Now this is an exception. We use ‘some' in questions when you're pretty sure that the answer will be yes. I'm asking you to pick up coffee because I know there's a high probability or a strong chance that you'll say yes, that you will buy the coffee.
Now often questions that we are expecting the answer to be yes are offers or requests okay?
Would you like some milk in your coffee?
Alright I'm being polite. I'm asking you but I know that you probably want milk in your coffee.
Now if I said: Would you like any milk in your coffee?
I'm asking because I actually don't really know if you have milk in your coffee or not.
Do you need me to lend you some money?
Now I already know that you need money and I'm expecting you to say yes but if I said: Do you need me to lend you any money?
I'm asking because honestly I don't really know the answer. Now this isn't the only exception okay? We have a couple more important ones to get through but that one is an important one to remember.
Alright so that was a very subtle difference. Now let's move on to the second exception. Before I said that ‘any' is used in negative sentences and not positive ones, right? Do you remember? But you can use ‘any' in an affirmative sentence or a positive sentence if the sentence has a negative feeling. Now positive sentences that include negative feelings usually have words like: hardly, never, rarely and without in them.
It's silly to go travelling without any money in the bank.
Now this sentence is a positive structure but we're talking about the lack of money which is a negative feeling or a negative idea.
He hardly has any hair left!
That's what we're talking about. Now there's one last situation where ‘any' can be used in an affirmative sentence. Now this is a special exception because it's also the only time that you might see ‘any' or ‘some' being used with a singular countable noun. That's a general rule that we're breaking here. We can use ‘any' in an affirmative sentence and commonly with a singular countable noun as a way to say it doesn't matter which one, alright?
You can take any road going south.
It doesn't matter which road you take, it's not important. You can take any of them.
Grab any shirt that you want!
It's not important which shirt you take, you can have whichever one you want.
You can fly with any company.
It doesn't matter which one.
Now that we've been through some examples, you really shouldn't have any problem with this little quiz now, okay? Let's do the first one together. All you need to do is choose the correct word,
Do you have ________ kids?
Could be either but let's go with ‘any' because ‘any' is used in a question, especially one that you don't know the answer to and usually you're asking because you don't know.
Now if I was asking someone who I thought had kids, then I'd probably use a question tag and I'd say: You have some kids, don't you?
Can I offer you ________ more dessert?
Now let's imagine that the person we're asking is a huge fan of dessert and always wants more. Alright so we probably can assume that the answer will be yes and it's an offer. So ‘some' is the correct answer here.
You can take _________ apple from the basket.
Now this is a singular countable noun here, it's a clue. So it would have to be ‘any'.
I don't have _______ need for that!
Any or some? You got it. It's ‘any', right? Because ‘any' is used in negative sentences.
Now for the last one let's go with:
I hardly have time to read _______ books.
Now even though this is an affirmative sentence, we're using ‘hardly' which gives us a negative feeling, right? So we would use ‘any'.
So how did you go? Did you get any of them wrong? Tell me in the comments below if you did and let me know if you've got any questions about them. Try to write some example sentences of your own so that I can come down and check them out. The English language is full of confusing word pairs just like these ones that are very similar in meaning but they're not exactly the same. And I've got a whole playlist of those lessons right here so if you want to keep going with these types of lessons, you can go check that one out.
And if you've got a specific pair of words that are particularly confusing for you, then let me know in the comments below. I'll try and make a lesson about it really soon. But for now, let's go check out this lesson together.
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A new relevant piece of information I have been learned by this lesson about exceptions. Thanks a lot.
Is someone working late?
“I left some SOAP for you in the kitchen”. (??)
Yes, that's correct!
your instructions were great!
My questions are:
How can you explain/justify the following examples appearing in mathematics textbooks:
“This equality is valid for some x in X”
(X is a given set, and small x is an element of X).
Second example: again with the same pattern;
This is true for some prime number p.”
Thank you for your hard work.
My wife and I we love the way how you teach people. Please keep doing like that.
Aww thank you Sebastian!
Hello my sweet teacher, thank you very much for this gracious and long lesson in writing. Yes, you have just confirmed it in the right way: there will never be a better way to teach than by writing and reading before any other process, exactly like in the school. I must admit that I had always maintained the amalgam between ‘some' and ‘any', but now it's over forever with this confusion thanks to you. That said, I still maintain my invitation, because to thank you, I will put my apartment at your disposal and myself your guide and your security man during your stay. Do you want to taste ‘some' orange juice in the jemaa lafna square between snakes and monkeys? Yes, you surely want….
Your teaching methods are excellent.
I don't have any child till now. Right?
I didn't have any children until now
I would like to know about different between till now and so far. Could you please teach us about this in the next video?
I had one mistake, the last one 🙂
Nice work Sally!
The lesson is simply ‘English Made Easy' Thanks so much for the simple and clear explanation.
Your lessons are always very interesting and useful for
revising my English grammar.
Looking forward to listening to the next one I thank-you
Thank you Lida – see you in the next one!
Hello Miss Emma I follow you from Chad, thank you for your English lessons that share with us.
Waiting you for new lessons.
Thank you me best teacher.
That's pretty clear and easy to understand with your explanation! Thank you for doing this video:)
It's my pleasure Kristy!
Your presentation is very nice.It's very helpful.