The differences between some and any, and also, much, many, and a lot, often cause difficulties for learners. These are examples of quantifiers. Although the rules are not complicated, there are a number of exceptions that can cause confusion.
In this article, we will look at the rules for some and any and see examples to illustrate the differences and potential errors in use. This article looks at the basic usage of these words and so learners should appreciate that there are other ways that they are also used. For a more complete explanation, you should look up quantifiers.
Some and Any
The general rule is that any is used for questions and negatives while some is used for positive.
Both may be used with countable and uncountable nouns.
Do we need any rice?
No, we don’t need any rice.
We have some rice in the cupboard.
Some may also be used for questions, typically offers and requests, if we think the answer will be positive.
Would you like some wine?
May I have some more chocolate?
Much/ Many and a lot of
These work in the same way as some and any. Much may only be used with uncountable nouns while many is used with countable.
Do we have much time?
Were there many people at the party?
A lot of is used for positive.
There were a lot of people at the party.
Again, much and many may also be used in questions if the speaker thinks that the answer will be positive.
When any, much/many are used in negative sentences, the verb is in the negative form. It is also possible to produce negative by using no or none.
There weren’t any people in the restaurant.
There were no people at the restaurant.
Were there any problems during the project?
There were none.
Complete some practice sections on quantifiers from a grammar practice book to get into the habit of using these words correctly.
Write dialogue exchanges using questions, negative and positive sentences to practice and have these checked for errors by your tutor or teacher.
Continue studying quantifiers other uses of these words.