Articles: difference between some / any and no article
March 26th, 2012 in English Learning
We can use uncountable and plural nouns with no articles. Sometimes, the same words can be used with some / any. There is usually little difference of meaning.
I need to buy some rice. OR I need to buy rice. (Both sentences express the same basic idea.)
Have you got large eggs? OR Have you got any large eggs?
I didn’t buy any apples. OR I didn’t buy apples.
Note that some is used in affirmative sentences. Any is used in questions and negative sentences.
Difference between some / any and no article
Some or any is used with uncountable and plural nouns when we thinking about limited but rather vague numbers or quantities. We use no articles with these nouns when we are not thinking about numbers or quantities at all.
I have bought some eggs. (Here we are thinking about a limited but vague number.)
Do you like eggs? (No idea of numbers)
I have some Indian friends. (A limited number)
Our neighbors are Indians. (Here the main idea is classification, not number.)
Would you like some mango juice? (Indefinite but limited quantity of juice)
I like mango juice. (A general statement about the speaker’s preference)
We do not use some / any when it is clear exactly how much / many is meant.
She has got lovely fingers. (NOT She has got some lovely fingers.)
All of us have got a limited number of fingers – 10. Therefore, some cannot be used in this sentence.