Some/Any

What’s the difference between some and any?

Some and any are quantifiers. They express an unspecified amount or number of something. We use some and any when we want to speak generally; usually because we don’t know the exact amount, or because it’s not important. Knowing when to use some and when to use any isn’t tricky, but it does take some practice.

Some

  • use some in positive sentences
Example:
There are some strawberries in the fridge.
There is some milk in the fridge.
  • use some in questions when we expect the answer to be yes (offers and requests)
Example:
Would you like some tea?

Any

Example:
There aren’t any eggs in the fridge.
Is there any milk in the fridge?
  • use any in positive sentences after words with a negative meaning i.e. never, hardly, without, little
Example:
You never have any time for me.

Read more about some vs. any and other quantifiers.

Someone, Somebody, Anyone, Anybody, Something, Anything

We can add the suffixes (endings) -thing, -one, -body, and -where to some and any to create indefinite pronouns. These allow us to refer to people (someone/somebody, anyone/anybody), places (somewhere, anywhere) and objects, ideas and concepts (something, anything).

We use these words in the same way as some and any; words starting with some- can only be used in positive sentences, offers and requests, while words starting with any- are used in negative sentences and questions.

Examples:
You’ve got something in your hair.

positive sentence

He didn’t say anything.

negative sentence

Do you want to go somewhere new for dinner tonight?

offer/suggestion, we expect the answer to be yes

Yes, but I don’t want to go anywhere expensive.

negative sentence

Info

The suffixes -body and -one have the same meaning, the only difference is that -body is more common in spoken English and -one is more common in written English.

Examples:
I didn’t see anybody at the station. ↔ I didn’t see anyone at the station.

For more information about the differences between anything and everything, or anything and nothing, go to our page on indefinite pronouns in English grammar. To learn about another confusing word pair, go to the page on every vs. any.