Some or Any – Commonly Confused Words

Are you confused about when to use ‘some’ or ‘any’? Let’s sort it out together.

some or any

Both the words ‘some’ and ‘any’ are quantifiers. They refer to the amount or quantity of something.

The general rule on when to use each word is simple: If it exists, we use ‘some’. If it doesn’t exist, or we aren’t sure that it exists, or don’t want it to exist, we use ‘any’.

The exception is for offers and requests. They are questions, but we hope that something exists or happens, so we use ‘some’.

Would you like some help?
We would like some juice, please.

Note that if we refer to a single, countable object, we use an article, not a quantifier.

I have some new chair.
I have a new chair.

Can you add the correct word?

Let’s practice speaking: Let’s read the dialogue. Then we’ll read it again, but replace the underlined words with our own ideas.

Customer: Excuse me. Do you have any cookies? I want to buy some for dessert.
Clerk: I think we have some. Please, follow me… Here they are.
Customer: I don’t see any chocolate ones. Do you have any?
Clerk: No, I’m sorry. We are out of those. Do you want some vanilla ones instead?
Customer: No thanks.

Combining ‘some’ and ‘any’:





an unspecified thing
any option available/nothing

an unspecified person
any person/no person

an unspecified place
any place/no place

an unspecified time
any time/no time

I have something to say.
Do you have anything to say?

Frank talks to somebody.
Franks talks to anybody.

Lily lives somewhere.
Lily lives anywhere.

Call me sometime.
Call me anytime.