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Some & Any

The words some and any are used for countable and uncountable nouns. In general, we could say that some means a few / a little and any means none in negative clauses or a few / a little in questions.

Positive Clauses

In positive clauses, we usually use some.

I have bought some bread.
I have bought some apples.

Negative Clauses

In negative clauses, we use any. Note, however, that any alone is not a negative - it must be not ... any

I have not bought any bread.
I have not bought any apples.


In questions, we usually use any.

Have you bought any bread?
Have you bought any apples?

Compound Words with some & any

Some & any can also be part of compound words such as:

  • something / anything
  • someone / anyone
  • somewhere / anywhere

Note that some & any have to be used with a noun while compound words with some & any can stand on their own.

I have bought some bread.
I have bought something.

However, some and any need not stand directly before the noun. Sometimes, the noun appears somewhere before some or any and is not repeated. So if you are not sure whether to use some or something for example, check if there is a noun in the sentence that you can place after some.

I do not have to buy bread. Rachel has already bought some [bread].


Positive Clauses with Any

We usually use some in positive clauses. But after never, without, hardly, we use any.

We never go anywhere.
She did her homework without any help.
There’s hardly anyone here.

Also in if clauses, we usually use any.

If there is anything to do, just call me.

Questions with Some

We usually use any in questions. But if we expect or want the other to answer ‚yes‘, we use some.

Have you got any brothers and sisters?

→ some people have brothers or sisters, others don't - we cannot expect the answer to be ‚yes‘

Would you like some biscuits?

→ we offer something and want to encourage the other to say ‚ja‘

Exercises on Some and Any

Mixed Exercises

Exercises with Exceptions