Business Writing

Some and Any

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In this post we’ll look more closely at two of the determiners—some and any. These two words, which can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, express an indefinite quantity or number.

When do we use them?

We use them when:

  • We don’t know an exact quantity or number
  • It’s not important to say how many/how much we mean
  • When it’s not easy or necessary to say how many/how much we mean.

We usually use some in positive sentences:

  • I’ve invited some people from XYZ Company to the meeting.
  • We did some brainstorming and then drafted the policy.

Any is for negative sentences:

  • We didn’t take any notes at the meeting and now we can’t remember what we decided.
  • We don’t have any money for a new photocopier.

More Examples

Some + Countable nouns (some means a few)

There are some books on the desk.

There are some representatives from XYZ company coming to the meeting.

There are some mistakes in this report.

Some + Uncountable nouns

There is some dust in the keyboard which is causing it to jam.

There is some money owing from our major client, which should come through any day now.

Any + Countable nouns (often used with negatives)

There aren’t any empty chairs at the table.

There aren’t any seats available on that flight.

Are there any seats available on that flight?

Yes, there are some.

N,o there aren’t any.

Any + Uncountable nouns

There isn’t any money left in the budget for training this year.

Is there any money left in the budget for training this year?

No, there isn’t any.

Yes, there is some, but not much.