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Some, Any, No

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‘some’, ‘any’ and ‘no’ are used with both ‘count’ and ‘non-count’ nouns. It is useful to remember which nouns are ‘count’ (countable) and ‘non-count’ (uncountable) first:

Countable and uncountable nouns

Countable nouns or ‘count’ nouns are those nouns that can be counted:
An apple, two apples etc.

Uncountable nouns or ‘non-count’ nouns are those nouns that cannot be counted: water, bread etc. Uncountable nouns take a singular verb and are not used with a/an.

Uncountable nouns can be divided into different groups:

Mass nouns: fruit juice, butter, sugar, rice, sand, etc.
Study subjects: physics, chemistry, mathematics (maths), history etc.
Sports: football, rugby, basketball etc.
Languages: English, Italian, Dutch, Arabic etc.
Diseases: influenza, malaria, asthma etc.
Natural phenomena:  rain, snow, mist etc.
Collective nouns: money, baggage, furniture, etc.
other nouns: information, accommodation, anger, luck, love, etc.


Some and its compounds – somebody, someone, something, somewhere etc. are normally used in affirmative sentences:

There is some wine in the cellar.
We have some chocolate cake left from last night.
There is someone at the door.

Some and its compounds are also used in interrogatives (questions) which are used to make an offer or a request:

Would you like some tea?
Do you want something to eat?
Can you ask someone to come and repair the TV?


Any and its compounds – anybody, anyone, anything, anywhere etc. are used in interrogative sentences:

Has anyone seen my mobile?
Do we have anything in the fridge?

Not any is used in negative sentences and any and its compounds can be used with words like without, never, rarely.

I have never met anyone as rude as you.
I did not have any time to speak to Marc.

When any and its compounds are used in affirmative sentences there is a different meaning.

We can go anywhere you like. = It doesn’t matter where we go.
Anyone could have told you that. = I’m surprised you don’t know this.


No and its compounds can be used instead of not any in negative sentences:

He didn’t do anything. He did nothing.

With some, any and no we use singular verbs.

Lesson by EC Malta teacher Tristan, Learn English in Malta

Choose the correct word from the following:

  • 1) I hope to have ___ time to myself at the weekend.

  • 2) I’ve never met ___ from Canada.

  • 3) Would you like ___ sugar with your tea?

  • 4) We don't have ___ coffee left.

  • 5) When I told you that you could have ___ water I didn’t expect you to drink it all.

  • 6) ___ called John to tell him the party was cancelled.

  • 7) I didn’t think ___ was coming to the exhibition.

  • 8) We still have to buy ___ for Jean’s birthday.

  • 9) He said he has ___ time to meet us today.

  • 10) I've never had ___ problems with my neighbour.