Some vs. Any

Any and some can be synonymous; that is, they may have the same meaning. Both may be used in affirmative or negative questions:
Will you have any?
Will you have some?
Won’t you have any?
Won’t you have some?

Generally, it is better to use some, not any, for affirmative statements and answers.
Correct: You may have some. Yes, I’d like some.
Incorrect: You may have any.

For negative statements and answers, it usually makes more sense to use any.
I don’t want any trouble.
I can’t have any pets in my apartment.
Awkward: I can’t have some pets in my apartment.

Note that it would be fine to leave out any in the above examples entirely.
I don’t want trouble.
I can’t have pets in my apartment.

Make sure you don’t use no when you mean any or you will have what is called a double negative.
Incorrect: I don’t want no apple pie.


Pop Quiz
Which of the following sentences are correct?

1. Would you like some ice cream with your chocolate cake?
2. Would you like any ice cream with your chocolate cake?
3. I would like any ice cream with my chocolate cake.
4. I don’t care for some ice cream with my chocolate cake.
5. I don’t care for ice cream with my chocolate cake.
6. I don’t care for any ice cream with my chocolate cake.
7. I don’t want no ice cream with my chocolate cake.


Pop Quiz Answers

1. Correct
2. Correct
3. Incorrect
4. I don’t care for any ice cream would be better.
5. Correct
6. Correct
7. Incorrect

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19 Comments on Some vs. Any

19 responses to “Some vs. Any

  1. Teresa says:

    Which of the following is correct? Or, both are acceptable. Please give explanation, thanks.

    1. Cut some shapes, or any other pictures you like.
    2. Cut some shapes, or some other pictures you like.

  2. Dewi says:

    I’ve got a problem about a countable noun below.

    We say
    There aren’t any malls.
    There are no malls.

    Is the below sentence grammatically correct?
    There isn’t any mall.

    Is it the same as There is no mall? I read this in an English book.


  3. John Beck says:

    Do you have some children?

  4. Sri says:

    Which is correct:
    – Unless someone wants this CD, I’ll keep it.
    – Unless anyone wants this CD, I’ll keep it.
    If both are correct what is the difference in the meaning.

    What are the conditions for using some/any with Unless?

    • The word anyone means “any person at all.” Someone means “some person.” Either one is grammatically correct. There are no conditions for their use that we are aware of.

  5. Jackyboy3 says:

    It is 100% do you have any questions? not do you have some questions. However this is around 5 years old so pointless commenting

  6. Jane says:

    You can say “will start or commence on January 12 and end on May 12.”

  7. ravi bedi says:

    Can we say “will start (or commence) from 12 Jan to 12 May.

  8. Jane says:

    When you say, “will start on January 12,” you don’t use “to” after. You could say, “will begin on January 12 and end on May 12” or “will start on January 12 and end on May 12 or “will work from January 12 to May 12.”

  9. jay says:

    is it correct to say. Will start on January 12 TO May 12
    what is the difference between from and on?

  10. Jane says:

    Both are correct.

  11. Irina says:

    What is the right way to ask: do you have any questions? or do you have some questions? Or may be both are right? Thanks

  12. Tom says:

    Is it honor or honour (UK spelling)? (LOL)

  13. Jane says:

    Thank you, Alison, for your acknowledgment. Oops, I mean acknowledgement! (UK spelling)

  14. Alison Cross says:

    Jane – this is just a general comment and not specific to this particular topic. Your regular e-mails are an absolute tonic and to discover this blog where you actually take the time and trouble to comment on the postings that your fans make is fantastic.

    My BIG bug-bear in life is coping with the difference between American and UK spellings. You colonials should be using the UK spellings :-)

    …….erm, that was just meant as a joke folks, so no hate mail ;-D

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