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some, any, no

The quantifiers some, any and no are a kind of determiner.

Some is an unspecified quantity. It could be big or small, we don't know. Normally it is "medium".

Any is also an unspecified quantity. It refers to "one, some or all". So it's a quantity from 1 to infinity (∞).

No is easy! No is ZERO (0).

The general rule is that we use some and no in positive (+) sentences and any in question (?) and negative (-) sentences.

some example situation
+ I have some money. I have $10.
I have no money. I have $0.
? Do you have any money? Do you have $1 or $10 or $1,000,000?
- I don't have any money. I don't have $1 and I don't have $10 and I don't have $1,000,000. I have $0.

Look at these examples:

  • He needs some stamps.
  • I must go home. I have some homework to do.
  • There were no stamps for the letters.
  • I have no homework to do so let's go out.
  • Does he need any stamps?
  • Do you have any homework to do?
  • He doesn't need any stamps.
  • I can stay. I don't have any homework to do.

We use any in a positive sentence when the real sense is negative.

  • I refused to give them any money. (I did not give them any money)
  • She finished the test without any difficulty. (she did not have any difficulty)

Sometimes we use some in a question, when we expect a positive YES answer. (We could say that it is not a real question, because we think we know the answer already.)

  • Would you like some more tea?
  • Could I have some sugar, please?
The determiner no is always used in a positive sentence. Do not use it in a negative sentence.
  • I have no money.
  • I don't have no money.