Have you got any friends?
I’ve got some friends.
I haven’t got any friends!
Hmmm... some big differences in the answers there. But what is the difference between some and any?
Each sentence above contains either some or any, so why do we use 'some' and when do you use 'any'?
Let's find out...
PLURAL & UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
We use SOME and ANY with plural nouns and uncountable nouns.
What’s a plural noun?
- A plural noun is something that you can count, when there is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 648 of something
For example: 5 friends, 2 phones, 6 oranges
What’s an uncountable noun (sometimes called non-count or mass noun)?
- An uncountable noun is something that you can NOT count.
For example: milk, coffee, money, happiness
Just to be 100% clear, you can say "I've had 2 cups of milk", BUT you are counting the 'cups' NOT the milk. Milk is a non-count noun.
QUESTION / INTERROGATIVE
- Have you got any brothers or sisters?
- Do you know any good places to eat near here?
- Can she speak any other languages?
In a question we use 'ANY'
- I haven’t got any sisters
- She didn’t get any emails today
- He is on a new diet. He hasn’t eaten any sugar for 2 weeks!
In a negative sentence (a grammatically negative sentence) we use 'ANY'
POSITIVE / AFFIRMATIVE
- We need some friends to help us move out of our flat
- ooh, my photo got some likes on Facebook
- If you’ve got a minute, I’d like some help
In a (grammatically) positive sentence, we use 'SOME'
SOME, WHEN WE EXPECT A 'YES'
In a question, we can use the word 'some' when we expect the other person to answer 'yes'.
Could I have a glass of water, please? "Yes, of course!"
Would you like some more chicken? "Yes, please, it's delicious!"
NEVER, WITHOUT, HARDLY = ANY
In a sentence that contains the words never, without or hardly (which means 'almost not'), then we follow these words with 'any'
We finished the project without any more problems.
He never gives me any flowers these days
She made hardly any mistakes in the test.