Grammar: Some and any

Here are three typical mistakes with some and any.

1. I don’t have some friends.
2. I haven’t got any book.
3. I’d like tea, please.

The basic rules for using some and any are:

1. Use some in positive sentences, and any in negative sentences
“I have some money.”
“I don’t have any books.”
“I’d like some tea, please.”

Note that in the first example, the noun “money” is uncountable. In the second, “books” is plural countable.

2. Use a / an when the noun is singular.
“I haven’t got a book” (NOT “I haven’t got any book.”)

3. Use “some” when we consider the noun to be restricted in a particular way, and any when the noun is not restricted.
“Would you like some sugar in your coffee?” (I’m imagining one or two spoonfuls of sugar, rather than a larger quantity.)
“Do you have any questions?” (On any subject or point that you like – you can ask me absolutely everything!)

4. We can use some and any as pronouns
“Have you got any brothers or sisters?”
“No, I haven’t got any.”

Do we need any bread from the shop?
“No, we’ve got some.”

English exercise

Decide whether to use some, any, a/an or nothing in the sentences below.

1. Do you like —– soap operas?
2. Would you like —– milk in your coffee?
3. She has —– beautiful clothes.
4. Is there —– good time to call you?
5. There’s —– cheese in the fridge.
6. Did you eat all those chocolates? No, I didn’t eat —–.
7. He has —– good ideas.
8. He had —– good idea yesterday.
9. Is there —– tea left?
Yes, there should be. I’ve just had —–

Answers to last English exercise

1. You look a bit off colour. Perhaps you’re going down with a cold.

2. Let’s add some red cushions to the room for a splash of colour.

3. When the two brothers argued, there was a lot of colourful language.

4. Don’t let all that negative publicity colour your judgement. In fact, he’s a very able politician.

5. The hotel has a very striking colour scheme with gold and green featuring throughout.

6. She tends to see things in black and white which makes it hard for her to understand the subtleties of what anyone says.

7. As soon as I saw the contract in black and white I realised I had the job

8. The fish restaurants next to the harbour add local colour.

9. Their team colours are blue shorts and white shirts.

10. She tends to favour pastels such as pink and light green.



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