linguapress  Advanced level reading resources Intermediate reading resources English grammar online Language games and puzzles

Some and any - (quantifiers 3)   

Linguapress for mobiles - home page Advanced reading resources Intermediate English resources Online English grammar
linguapressLinguapress English grammar
on your mobile
Linguapress for Mobiles

Some and any as quantifiers

Other quantifiers: Quantifiers of large quantity Quantifiers of small quantity Neutral quantifiers - each and every

Some and any - neutral quantifiers

Some and any,  their compounds and other neutral quantifiers

Test your grammar: Some and any quiz
Quantifiers test with answers

3.1. Some and any are both quantifiers and articles. In many contexts, some is the plural indefinite article, the plural of "a" or "an"; but more often, some implies a limited quantity, and for this reason has the value of a neutral quantifier, neither big nor small nor specific.

Some is used in affirmative statements; it is replaced with any in negative and interrogative contexts. 

I've got some apples in my basket and some water in my bottle.
I haven't got any apples in my basket, nor any water in my bottle.
Have you got any apples in your basket? Have you got any water in your bottle?
We had some visitors last month, but we didn't have any this month.
Have you got any rooms free for the night of May 30th ?

3.2. Special cases

    Some and any used in the subject of an affirmative statement....
  • With a singular subject, some implies a non determined or non-specified entity, any implies a singular but potentially plural entity (examples 5 - 8 below). 
  • Used with count nouns in the plural, some just has the function of a plural indefinite article. Any used with a plural subject has the meaning of all.... if there are any.
  1. Some child has left his coat on the bus.
  2. Some help would be appreciated. (= Will someone please help me.)
  3. Some famous politician once said, "To vote or not to vote?"
  4. Even with the best insulation, some heat always escapes.
  5. Any help would be appreciated  
        ( = If someone actually helped me, that would be good)
  6. Any accident at high speed can be fatal.
  7. Almost any child will say yes if you offer an ice-cream
  8. Any educated person knows who Shakespeare was.
  9. Some people are intelligent.
  10. Any volunteers should sign up by Friday at the latest.

3.3. Any or no

  • In a negative statement in English, negation is normally expressed through the verb; negation can however be expressed by adding a negative value to the subject or the direct object of the sentence. Whenever negation is expressed in a noun phrase, the verbal negative particle not is replaced by the negative quantifier no.
There aren't any children in the road.
  =  There are no children in the road.
You mustn't bring any maps with you on the expedition.
   =  You must bring no maps with you on the expedition
I'm not going to visit any castles in Scotland.
  =  I'm going to visit no castles in Scotland..

3.4. Compound forms of some, any and no

  • Some any and no can be compounded with other words; the most common compounds are
    • Someone, anyone, noone
    • Something, anything, nothing
    • Somewhere, anywhere, nowhere
    Exactly the same principles apply to these compounds, as apply to some, any or no used on their own.
There is something in the cupboard.
There isn't anything in the cupboard.
There's nothing in the cupboard
Is there anything in the cupboard ?


3.5. Some in an interrogative sentence

  • In certain interrogative sentences (questions), some may be able to replace any
  • When some(...)  is used instead of any(...), the speaker is predicting that the coming answer will be  affirmative; if the same question were asked using any, the speaker would not be predicting any specific reply.
Is there someone in the room ?  (= I think there is someone here; am I right?)
Is there anyone in the room ?
 (= I don't know if anyone is here; can someone tell me?)
Would you like some tea ? (An affirmative answer is expected)  .

3.6. With of: Some of, any of, none of

  • When some, any or none (but never no) are followed by the word of, the following noun must be introduced by an article or other determiner; a following pronoun will not of course need a determiner.
Some of the children are eating sweets
   =  Some children are eating sweets.
Are any of the children eating sweets?
   = Are any children eating sweets ?
None of the actors like working in this theatre.
   = No actors like working in this theatre.

I can answer some of the questions; he can't answer any of them..

ONE CANNOT SAY:  Some of children... None of animals ... etc.

Other determiners:
Some of John's cars are very old.
Some of my cars are very old
Some of these cars are very old.

3.7. Other neutral quantifiers: several, a number of, enough

These quantifiers are dealt with under the section quantifiers of large quantity. Technically they express a large or sufficiently large quantity; often they are used with a very neutral meaning, as synonyms of some or any.

4 Recapitulation: table of usage for common English quantifiers

Affirmative Negative Interrogative
Neutral some, several, a number of, enough any, enough any, enough
Large quantity numerous, plenty of, a lot of, lots of, too many much, many, too many much, many, too many
Small quantity few / a few, Little / a little

Cette page en français: ►
Les quantificateurs en anglais


► Go to  English grammar index
Selected main grammar pages
Verbs: the present tense
Verbs : the future
Past tenses
Verbs or enabling
Gerunds, participles and -ing forms
The imperative
Modal verbs of obligation
Irregular verb tables
Nouns, pronouns, adjectives
Noun phrases
Personal pronouns
Adjectives in English
Some any and no
Sentences & clauses
Negatives in English
Conditional clauses in English
Word order in questions
Reported questions in English
Styles of English
Word stress in English
More resources
Reading resources: advanced 
Reading resources: intermediate
Crosswords and word games

CopyrightCopyright information.
Free to view, free to share,  free to use in class, free to print, but not free to copy..
If you like this page and want to share it with others,  just share a link, don't copy. uses cookies, and by continuing on our site, you accept this. To remove this message click   or otherwise click for more details