Some - Any - A - An

English Grammar Rules

A and AN

We use A/AN (articles) with singular countable nouns.

  • My brother has a ferret for a pet.
  • There is an accident on the corner.

A is used when the next word starts with a consonant sound.

  • A book
  • A guitar
  • A friend
  • A university (The start of the word university sounds like YOU, a consonant sound).

AN is used when the next word starts with a vowel sound.

  • An apple
  • An ice-cream
  • An orange
  • An hour (the letter H in this word is silent so it sounds like it starts with a vowel).

Some and Any

We use SOME and ANY with plural nouns and uncountable nouns.

Some is generally used in positive sentences.

Any is generally used in negative sentences.

  • I have some information for you about flights to Paris.
    (Positive - Uncountable)
  • I don't have any information for you about flights to Paris.
    (Negative - Uncountable)
  • We met some friends for drinks after work yesterday.
    (Positive - Plural Countable)
  • I didn't see any friends there on Thursday.
    (Negative - Plural Countable)
  • I think he will have some time to speak to you today.
    (Positive - Uncountable)
  • I don't think he will have any time to speak to you today.
    (Negative - Uncountable)

You can also use SOME and ANY in a sentence without a noun if the meaning of the sentence is clear.

  • I didn't eat any salad but Peter ate some. (salad)
  • Sean took lots of photos of the mountains but Emma didn't take any. (photos)

Questions with Some and Any

Generally, we use ANY in questions.

  • Do you know any famous people?
  • Do you have any children?

But, SOME is used in the following circumstances:

1. When we are offering something.

  • Would you like some coffee?
  • Do you want some sugar for your coffee?

2. When we are asking for something.

  • Could I have some salt, please?
  • Can I have some fries with that?

3. When we are suggesting something.

  • Why don't we rent some movies to watch tonight?
  • Why don't you give her some advice?

You can also use SOME and ANY in a sentence without a noun if the meaning of the sentence is clear.

I didn't eat any salad but Peter ate some. (salad)

Sean took lots of photos of the mountains but Emma didn't take any. (photos)




Next activity

Try our interactive game to practice this: Some - Any - A - An - Game

You should also see our notes about Countable vs Uncountable Nouns.

You may be interested in learning about the difference between Much, Many, Lot and Few



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Last Updated: 25 September 2014
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