Some and Any – Three rules you need to know

Some and Any – do you know how to use these words with countable and uncountable nouns? In this video you’ll learn three important grammar rules that will help you get them right.
You’ll also learn how we make lentil soup!

Click here to see our video on much , many, a lot of and lots of.
Click here to learn how we use the uncountable noun ‘travel’.
Click here to see more grammar videos.

Some and Any – countable and uncountable nouns

In this lesson we’re looking at how we use some and any in English.
And you’re also going to see how we make lentil soup.
We’ve had a lot of requests for this one.
What? Lentil soup?
No! Some and any.
Before we start, here’s a quick reminder about countable and uncountable nouns. In English some nouns are countable.

One, two. Two onions
Three carrots.

And some English nouns are uncountable. We can’t count them.

Salt.
Soup.

Countable nouns can be singular or plural. We use a singular verb form with singular nouns and a plural verb form with plural nouns. Uncountable nouns always take a singular verb form.
Great! So now we’re ready for some work with some and any.
We use both these words with countable AND uncountable nouns. So let’s get cooking and see them in action.

We’re making lentil soup today. It’s great for vegetarians and vegans.
Jay went vegan about six months ago. So he doesn’t eat any meat or any fish.
And no dairy products. So no cow’s milk or cheese.
Or eggs.
That’s right. I don’t eat any food that had a face or a mother.
OK. Here are some of our ingredients. We have some lentils, some celery and an onion.
An old onion. And a hot pepper.
Can you get some carrots out of the fridge?
How many?
About three or four.
OK.
And do we have any tomatoes?
No.
It doesn’t matter. And is there any stock?
Erm. There’s some.
Oh good. I’ve got some here.
How old is it?
It smells OK.
Stock is a liquid we use in soup.
It’s made by cooking meat or bones in water.
But this wasn’t made with meat?
No, this was made with vegetables.
Great. I’ll cut up the onion and you can cut up the celery.
OK.
So I was surprised when Jay went vegan because you used to love meat and fish. Why did you go vegan?
It was for health reasons. It’s good for my heart and I’ve lost weight. About seventeen pounds so far.
Excellent. So if you want to lose some weight, go vegan.
It’s good for the environment and for animals, of course.
Finished?
Yes.
OK. This soup is very simple. We just put the vegetables in the pot. Add some stock and cook it.
Shall I add all the lentils?
Um, just some.
OK.
Let’s try it.
OK. We need a spoon.
Oh, there aren’t any in the drawer.
Look in the dishwasher.
Sure. This one?
Yes. Any spoon will do. You try it.
Sure. Hmm. It’s a bit tasteless.
Mmm. Can you get me some salt?
Sure. Do you want some pepper too?
Yes.
Oh. And we forgot the hot pepper.
Oh. Let’s put some in.
Vicki said ‘some’. But I think I’ll put it all in.
We’re going to try it again. [Panting noises.]

So what do these words mean and when do we use them? We’ll start with ‘some’. We use some to talk about a limited number or quantity.

Shall I add all the lentils?
Um, just some.
OK.
Vicki said ‘some’. But I think I’ll put it all in.

So some means a limited amount. Not all. And we use it with PLURAL countable nouns and uncountable nouns. But not singular countable nouns. With singular countables, we say ‘a’ or ‘one’.

How can everyone tell if a noun is countable or uncountable?
Good question. You just have to learn them one by one, but we’ll make another video about that later.
It’s interesting because salt and rice are uncountable, but lentils are countable.
Yes. Lentils are countable.
One lentil, two lentils, three lentils, four lentils, five lentils, six lentils, seven lentils.…
Pwww!

We use some when we don’t know or we don’t want to say an exact number or quantity.

906, 907, 908, 909…
Jay, let’s just say there are some lentils.
There are some lentils.

So ‘some’ is vague. It means a number bigger than one, but it’s indefinite.

Can you get some carrots out of the fridge?
How many?
About three or four.
OK.
And is there any stock?
Erm. There’s some.
Oh good.

Now, what about ‘any’? Any is similar. Again it’s an indefinite number or quantity and again, we use it with plural countable and uncountable nouns. But any also has a negative meaning. Any can mean none.

Jay went vegan about six months ago. So he doesn’t eat any meat or any fish.
And no dairy products. So no cow’s milk or cheese.
Or eggs.
That’s right. I don’t eat any food that had a face or a mother.

So Jay doesn’t eat any meat, any fish, any eggs. It means he eats none of them.
So now you know the meanings of some and any and it’s time to lean some grammar rules.
Here’s a useful basic rule. Use some in positive sentences. Use any in negative sentences and questions. This rule doesn’t work all the time but it’s a great starting point. If I have elementary students, I teach them this rule.

We have some lentils, some celery and an onion.
We need a spoon.
Oh, there aren’t any in the drawer.
Do we have any tomatoes?
Ermm, no.

So this is the basic rule you want to follow in positive sentences, negatives and questions. Are there exceptions to this rule? Of course! An important one is requests and offers. They’re special.

Can you get me some salt?
Sure. Do you want some pepper too?

So here’s rule two. In questions where we’re asking for things, or offering things, we say some. So in normal questions you’d say any, but if the questions are requests or offers, say some. Got it?
Good, because now we’re going to shift up a level for rule three. Are you ready?
We use ‘any’ in positive sentences when we mean ‘it doesn’t matter which one’.

Look in the dishwasher.
Sure. This one?
Yes. Any spoon will do.

There are lots of spoons in the dishwasher. It doesn’t matter which one you choose because they’re all OK. Another example.

I’m hungry.
Well there’s soup in the fridge.
Oh really? What’s this?
Tomato soup. And there’s pea soup and also lentil soup.
Which one can I have?
Any one you like. They’re all vegan.

So any can mean it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter which one. As your English goes up in level, you’re going to find this useful. So make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel, so we can tell you more about it.
And in the meantime these are the key rules you need to know about some and any.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
Yes. See you all next week, everyone.
Bye.
Bye-bye.
Click here to see our video on much , many, a lot of and lots of.
Click here to learn how we use the uncountable noun ‘travel’.
Click here to see more grammar videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.