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  1. #1
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Some/any - question with 'could'

    I came across this sentence: Could you pass me some/any milk?

    At school we were taught the basic rules of some/any. However, some of my friends have argued with me stating that we use 'any' in questions and the sentence is undoubtedly a question. Furthemore, they added that we use 'some' in interrogative offers and this is not an offer. Although I know these rules, I am very strongly convinced of the opposite i.e. SOME should be used. Can you correct me/them and clarify?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by tom3m; 24-Jul-2012 at 10:28. Reason: typos

  2. #2
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    When you are sitting at the table with someone, and there's a bottle of milk that you can't reach on the table, you will normally say:

    Could you pass me the milk, please?


    "Some milk" is possible grammatically, but why would you ask another person to pass you an unspecified amount of milk? I think it's a conceivable but uncommon question. "Any milk" is even stranger to me. In what situations do you just need milk, no matter at all how much?

  3. #3
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    I knew about the possibility of putting the definite article there, but we were doing SOME/ANY completely neglecting other correct anwers. It was an excercise, during which everyone had to make a sentence with some or any in it and then call someone to solve it. I would put there 'the' as well. I was just wondering if 'some' was better than 'any'.

  4. #4
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    I knew about the possibility of putting the definite article there, but we were doing SOME/ANY completely neglecting other correct anwers. It was an excercise where everyone had to make a sentence with some or any in it and then call someone to solve it. I would put there 'the' as well. I was just wondering if 'some' was better than 'any'.
    I'm not sure which is better. Both are grammatical, and both are very unlikely in my opinion.

  5. #5
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I'm not sure which is better. Both are grammatical, and both are very unlikely in my opinion.
    How would it be if we changed 'pass' to 'give'? Could you give some/any milk does even make sense . Would we use some or any, then?

  6. #6
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    Can we change "milk" to "money" in the sentence too? When you say

    Could you give me some money?

    you often have a more or less specified amount of money in mind. The other person may not know what amount of money that is yet, but you might explain later.

    When you say

    Can you give me any money?

    you are asking if there is any amount of money the person can give you. You might try to negotiate the amount later.

  7. #7
    tom3m is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Some/any - question with 'could'

    Thank you very much. There is a difference in meaning. That was the thing I needed to clarify. Thanks a lot.

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