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  1. #1
    petedk is offline Newbie
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    Another "some" or "any" question.

    I know how to use "some" or "any" but yesterday I was confronted by another teacher who disagrees with me in this special case.

    I wanted to write "If you have any questions please feel free to contact us"

    but he insisted that it should be "If you have some questions ..."

    I am suddenly in doubt as to who is correct.

    Can anyone help?

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    "If you have any questions..." sounds natural to me.

    But I think it violates "rules" like these given to foreign learners of English.

    Use of any and some for questions, statements, positive and negative sentences - basic English grammar for beginners

  3. #3
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Quote Originally Posted by petedk View Post
    I know how to use "some" or "any" but yesterday I was confronted by another teacher who disagrees with me in this special case.

    I wanted to write "If you have any questions please feel free to contact us"

    but he insisted that it should be "If you have some questions ..."

    I am suddenly in doubt as to who is correct.

    Can anyone help?
    I think you're right. Any is derived from the Old Norse 'ekki' and was a negation; we use 'any' when we are expecting there may be none, and use 'some' when we are expecting some non-zero discrete quantity.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Michael Lewis has some useful thoughts on this:


    “Both some and any are used with indefinite reference.
    Some is used if the idea is restricted or limited in some way.
    Any is used if the idea is unrestricted or unlimited.
    Any applies to all or none; some applies to part.

    The restriction may be a real one – There’s some cheese in the fridge – or a psychological one, existing only in the mind of the speaker – Would you like something to eat?

    The real semantic distinction is as simple as that, and applies to all uses of some and any.

    Lewis, Michael (1986) The English Verb, Hove: LTP

  5. #5
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    But both are restrictive in interrogative clauses, just to a different degree, unless my brain has shut down for the night.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    But both are restrictive in interrogative clauses, just to a different degree, unless my brain has shut down for the night.
    I don't think there is any restriction at all in 'Would you like anything to eat?' or 'If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us'.

    This is why 'any' is common in questions.

  7. #7
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Well if a Djinn tells you you can have anything you want, 3 times, that's unrestricted. But if you have to ask Mother Hubbard "Is there anything in the fridge" you're hoping for some small morsel, it seems to me. The expectation is at a very low level. Not like saying "do you have a few dozen Porsches I could borrow for a filmed explosion?"

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Well if a Djinn tells you you can have anything you want, 3 times, that's unrestricted. But if you have to ask Mother Hubbard "Is there anything in the fridge" you're hoping for some small morsel, it seems to me. The expectation is at a very low level.You may be hoping
    You are hoping for a small morsel, but you have no real expectation. Any restriction comes from 'in the fridge', not from 'anything'.

    There is, I feel, more hope with 'Is there something in the fridge?'
    Last edited by 5jj; 26-May-2011 at 12:10. Reason: correction

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Quote Originally Posted by petedk View Post
    I know how to use "some" or "any" but yesterday I was confronted by another teacher who disagrees with me in this special case.

    I wanted to write "If you have any questions please feel free to contact us"

    but he insisted that it should be "If you have some questions ..."

    I am suddenly in doubt as to who is correct.

    Can anyone help?

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Just to share with you what I was taught:

    (a) If I go to Mona's home and she says (with a big smile):

    "Would you like something to eat?," she really means it and

    is sincere in her offer.

    (b) If she says (without a smile): "Would you like anything to

    eat?," she may be doing so only as a formality and secretly

    hoping that I say "No."


    Respectfully yours,


    James


    P.S. Yes, I know that the punctuation does not make sense:

    "Would you like something to eat?," she ...."

    But I have learned through my reading that American rules call for the

    comma to be put inside the quotation marks.

  10. #10
    petedk is offline Newbie
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    Re: Another "some" or "any" question.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "If you have any questions..." sounds natural to me.

    But I think it violates "rules" like these given to foreign learners of English.
    Yes, I found that link too and agree with you. (Sorry I had to remove it to be able to post this message.)

    I realise that if you ask the a question then it should be "Do you have any questions?"

    The example I gave was not a question but a positive statement so grammatically it should be "If you have some questions..."

    Thanks for all the replies.

    By the way I am new to this website and I must admit there is a lot of useful information here.
    Thanks

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