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Quantifiers: Some and Any

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What are some and any?
Some and any are quantifiers. We use these words before nouns to add information about quantity. Other quantifiers which you may recognize are: both, every, many, most, and no. Some and any don't refer to a definite quantity or number. For example:

    definite quantity/number: I have two English books.
    indefinite quantity/number: I have some English books.

The first sentence shows a specific number; however, the second sentence may mean two, three, or even more books. The specific quantity is unknown.

Here are some more examples:

    definite quantity/number: She visited two countries last spring.
    indefinite quantity/number: She visited some countries.

    definite quantity/number: I will eat two slices of pizza. I'm not very hungry.
    indefinite quantity/number: I will eat some pizza.

What is the sentence structure?
Both some and any come before nouns. For example:

    Some people like the taste of beer, but I can't stand it.
    I saw some previews for the new Star Wars movie. It looks awesome!
    Health is important, so my family usually eats some fruit at breakfast.

    He couldn't get any tickets for the concert.
    I won't take any classes next term because I am too busy.
    She doesn't want any rice.

How are some and any used?
Some is used in the following situations:

1: When the sentence is positive.

    I want to go to some interesting places in the summer.
    There is a party tonight, so Bill bought some snacks.

2: When the number/quantity isn't important, or the number/quantity isn't known.

    I think Stacy bought some CDs yesterday.
    Jen looked at some recipes for dessert. She had a taste for cookies.

Any is used in the following situations:

1: When the sentence is negative.

    I don't have any money this month! I'm broke!
    Tom didn't eat any cookies. They didn't look delicious.

2: In question sentences.

    I missed the class yesterday. Was there any homework?
    Do you have any new romance DVDs?

It's important to remember that some should only be used for positive statements and any should only be used for negative statements.

    X I don't have some time.
    O I don't have any time.

    X I have any money.
    O I have some momey.

Is there any additional information on some and any?
Both words may be used with countable and uncountable nouns. Here are some examples:

    countable noun: He bought some sandwiches for lunch.
    countable noun: He didn't see any stars when he visited Hollywood.

    uncountable noun: He ate some cheese with his sandwiches.
    uncountable noun: He never drinks any coffee at night because then he can't sleep.

In addition, some may be used in question sentences. We do this when we expect the answer to be "yes." However, it's still okay to use any. For example:

    A: Did you eat some sushi when you visited Japan?
    B: Of course I did. I went to the famous fish market in Tsukiji.

    A: Did you eat any sushi when you visited Japan?
    B: Of course I did. I went to the famous fish market in Tsukiji.

Both questions above have the same meaning.


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