Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Quick 5 Point Novel Guide to SOME vs. ANY

There are many occasions where you seem to be able to use the word SOME or the word ANY without changing the meaning of a sentence. 

The use and rules of the words SOME and ANY are somewhat (there is no ‘anywhat’) vague to say the least or so impossibly complicated that a PhD is required (see point 5 below.)

However, you know it sounded right when Oliver asked Mr. Bumble, “please sir, I want some more” and not “please sir, I want any more”. 

I looked at these two words more closely and there is an easy pattern which will help you. No PhD required.

Here is a 5 point novel guide to SOME vs. ANY.

To start with, let’s take a look at the dictionary definitions first. I want you to notice, the dictionary uses the word SOME in the description of ANY—not helping in the distinction, but there is a pattern in the examples.

1. The definition of SOME

SOME is an unspecified amount or things of.


"I made some money running errands"
"She married some newspaper magnate twice her age"

2. The definition of ANY

ANY is used to refer to one or some of a thing or number of things. Or whichever of a specified class might be chosen.


"I don't have any choice"
"These constellations are visible at any hour of the night"

3. Positive vs. Negative (Some vs. Any)

The first way to differentiate between SOME and ANY is that SOME is positive and ANY is negative. This is probably the most popular difference but only accounts for a few instances. 

I want you to look back at the dictionary examples:

SOME: I made some money running errands. This is a POSITIVE sentence.

ANY: I made any money running errands. This does not make sense.

ANY: I didn’t make any money running errands. This is a NEGATIVE sentence.

SOME: I didn’t make some money running errands. The problem here is firstly, the sentence is awkward and secondly, the sentence falsely makes SOME a specific amount.


4. Restrictive vs. Non-restrictive (SOME vs. ANY)

This difference between SOME and ANY comes into play when referring to a defined destination. The destination might be any one the following:

 - A Time
 - A Place
 - A Person
 - A Future State

SOME is restrictive to the final destination.

ANY is non-restrictive to the final destination.

Have another look at the dictionary examples:

SOME newspaper magnate—this sentence is specific and restrictive

ANY newspaper magnate—this sentence is open and non-restrictive

Visible at SOME hour—this is Restrictive

Visible at ANY hour—this is Non-restrictive

5.The argument against the rules?

I want to be open and transparent, so I provided you with a technical argument against what I have written. Take a look at: SOME REASONS WHY THERE CAN’T BE ANY some-any RULE, by Robin Lakoff in 1969. 

Once you have read it please explain it to me!

OR check out Queen on You Tube (way better!) Somebody to Love!

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