As you watch the video, look at the examples of some, any, every and no. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, some, any, every and no correctly.
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!
Worksheets and downloads
Daisy: Shall we look for somewhere to get some coffee and some cake?
Amy: Alright. I'm not very hungry, but I'd love something to drink. Where do you fancy going?
Daisy: Anywhere you like.
Amy: Well, how about this place?
Daisy: Oooh, there's nobody else here! Where is everyone? Ah well, it's all for us! Hi!
Waiter: Hi! What can I get you?
Daisy: I'd like a cappuccino, please, and have you got any cake?
Waiter: Oh yes, we do. We've got some amazing chocolate cake, and some carrot cake – that's my personal favourite – and there's a lemon and ginger cake … and …
Daisy: No, no, I'll have some carrot cake – I haven't had any for ages, and I love it!
Waiter: A great choice. And can I get you anything?
Amy: Yes, I'd like some green tea with mango, please.
Daisy: Ooh, that sounds good!
Waiter: Anything else?
Amy: Do you have any cookies?
Waiter: I'm sorry, there are none left.
Amy: OK, nothing else then. Just the tea.
Waiter: So, one green tea with mango, one cappuccino and some carrot cake. A large piece and two forks.
Daisy: So. How's it all going? New town, new school, new people …
Amy: Well, I haven't really made any friends yet, apart from you, but I'm OK. I just need some time to adapt.
Daisy: Yeah, of course.
Amy: And the teachers all seem nice. There’s no one really boring or unfriendly.
Daisy: No. School's OK. The headmaster's new – Mr. Oliveira – I don't think anyone really knows him yet, but he seems fine.
Amy: Yeah, someone told me he’s almost 50. Can you believe it?
Daisy: No way. He looks like somebody in that film about the millionaire … ummm … Hey, look! That's my brother over there! Oliver! Ollie! Come and meet Amy!
Oliver: Hi, girls. What are you up to?
Daisy: Nothing. Just chatting and having some cake. Mm!! Have some, it's delicious!
Oliver: It looks tasty, I might get some. Hi, I'm Oliver, Daisy's brother.
Amy: Hi, I'm Amy.
Oliver: Amy. Cool. Excuse me, have you got any chocolate cake at all?
Waiter: Yes, we've got three different kinds – all home-made. There's chocolate biscuit cake, white chocolate cake and chocolate and orange cake.
Oliver: Any will do. Surprise me. And a glass of water, please. Thanks. So, Amy. Where are you from? Anywhere exotic and exciting, like the places our mother visits? Singapore? …
Amy: I'm from Cambridge. Cambridge, England.
Oliver: Ah right! Cambridge! Haha, that's somewhere Mum hasn't been! It's too near home! Thanks.
Daisy: Ignore him, he's just jealous. Our mum travels a lot.
Oliver: Huh! Me!!?? Jealous?! Who needs travel when you have cake?! So, Amy, Daisy told me you're new, right? Welcome to our town! You'll like it here. Nice people, good cake. Now tell me about yourself …
Daisy: Ollie! It's not a job interview! So, anyway there's Mr Oliveira, and – oh – and Miss Pinkerton is cool, everyone likes her, she teaches maths and she can tell you everything about … well, about anything! And then there's …
What snacks do you and your friends like to have together? What do you have to drink with them?