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24. Some and any


1 Basic use

Some and any go before a plural or uncountable noun.
There was a bowl and some cornflakes on the table, but there wasn't any milk.
We can also use some and any without a noun.
Trevor wanted some milk, but he couldn't find any.

We normally use some in positive sentences and any in negative sentences or ones with a negative meaning.

We can also use any in a sentence with if.
If you have any problems, you can discuss them with your group leaders.
I can answer any questions. (= lf there are any questions, ... )

In questions we can use either some or any, but any is more common.
We don't know whether the answer will be yes or no.
Have we got any butter?
Will there be any food for the guests?
Did you buy any clothes?

We normally use some in offers and requests to make them sound more positive.
Would you like some coffee?
Could you post some letters for me?
We can use some in questions when we think the answer might be yes.
Did you buy some clothes? (Perhaps I know that you went out to buy some.)

2 Someone, anything, etc.

We choose between someone and anyone, something and anything, and somewhere and anywhere in the same way as between some and any.

3 Another use of any

We can use any in a positive sentence to mean 'it doesn't matter which'.
I'm free all day. Call any time you like.
Any student will be able to tell you where the college library is.
You can buy these maps at any petrol station. They all have them.
We say any petrol station because all petrol stations have the maps. It doesn't matter which one you go to.
They are all equally good.

Look at these examples with anyone, anything and anywhere.
It's a very simple puzzle. Anyone could solve it. (= It doesn't matter who.)
What shall we have for lunch? - Oh, anything. I don't mind.
Where do we have to sit? - We can sit anywhere. It doesn't matter.

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