Some, any, every and no
We use some and any for talking about indefinite numbers or amounts of things. We use them with nouns or on their own, as pronouns.
I know about some and any. You use some in positive sentences and any in questions and negatives, right?
Well, yes, often.
We've got some amazing chocolate cake, and some carrot cake.
Have you got any chocolate cake?
I haven't had any carrot cake for ages.
But we also use any in positive sentences.
Any cake will do. Surprise me.
She can tell you everything about ... well, about anything!
Oh, so what’s the rule?
We use some for talking about a limited number or amount; and we use any for an unlimited number or amount. For example, imagine you are talking about different kinds of cake. All these sentences are possible:
A I like any kind of cake. (= all kinds of cake, unlimited)
B I don't like any kind of cake. (= 0 kinds of cake, unlimited)
C I like some kinds of cake. (= a limited number of kinds of cake)
D I don't like some kinds of cake. (= a limited number of kinds of cake)
OK, I think that’s clear. I like any kind of music. I don’t like some dogs.
Yes, if you like all music and if you also like some dogs.
Yes, I like most dogs, but not dogs that bite, or dogs that are ill.
And what about questions? Can we use both some and any in questions?
Yes, we use both.
Would you like some more coffee?
Would you like any more to eat?
Here the difference is very small. The speaker is thinking of a limited amount in the first question, and an unlimited amount in the second question. In both questions we could use some or any.
Sometimes we use some when we expect the answer to be “yes”. We use any when we don’t know what the answer will be; we are asking whether something exists.
Can I have some sugar? (I know there’s some sugar)
Is there any cake left? (I don’t know whether there’s any cake)
Are you waiting for somebody? (I think you are)
Is anybody coming to meet you? (I don’t know)
Did you say we can use some and any on their own, as pronouns?
Yes, we don’t need to repeat the noun.
Is there any cake?
Yes, do you want some? / Sorry, there isn’t any. / Sorry, there’s none left.
Ah, none. That’s new to me.
Yes, we can use none or no + noun instead of not any.
Have we got any onions?
No, there aren’t any. / There are none left.
We haven’t got any money. = We have no money.
What about somebody, anybody, everybody and nobody? Can you tell me more about how you use those words?
Of course. Somebody/anybody/nobody/everybody are used as singular nouns, even though everybody refers to more than one person and anybody can mean more than one person.
I saw somebody outside the window. (= 1 person)
There’s nobody there. (= 0 person)
Everybody knows that The Beatles were from Liverpool. (= all people)
Has anybody seen my keys? (= 1+ people)
Is somebody the same as someone?
Yes, it’s the same. We also use:
People: someone - anyone - no one - everyone
Things: something - anything - nothing - everything
Places: somewhere - anywhere - nowhere - everywhere
OK, I think that’s everything for today. I’ve got to go somewhere to meet somebody.
You don’t want to ask anything else?
No, thank you!