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    #1

    Question any help or some help?

    The United Nations said Tuesday that only a fraction of flood victims in Pakistan have received any help.

    The above sentence was quoted from VOA.

    I have a question below :

    Could we use "some help" replace "any help" here?

    Thank you.

    From Tien-sung

    (Taipei Taiwan)

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    #2

    Re: any help or some help?

    It's a good question.

    'Any' sounds more natural but I can't explain why.

    Rover

  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: any help or some help?

    **Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.**

    Maybe any sounds better because of the only.
    (Only is - somehow - a negative word, which might be more suitable for any.)
    Only a fraction of flood victims in Pakistan have received any help.

    By the way, I don't really like the sentence at all:
    The United Nations said Tuesday that only a fraction of flood victims in Pakistan have received any help.
    1. Tuesday without a preposition sounds strange to me.
    2. I'd use had received because of the said. (And this shouldn't confuse anyone )

    Anyway, the main topic is about any, and maybe it's clearer now...

    Cheers!

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    #4

    Re: any help or some help?

    Quote Originally Posted by tien-sung View Post
    The United Nations said Tuesday that only a fraction of flood victims in Pakistan have received any help.

    The above sentence was quoted from VOA.

    I have a question below :

    Could we use "some help" replace "any help" here?

    Thank you.

    From Tien-sung

    (Taipei Taiwan)
    ********** NOT a teacher **********

    Hello, Tien-sung.

    (1) I cannot give you an answer. All I can do is to offer some

    ideas. Then you will have to decide for yourself until someone

    explains the difference to you and me.

    (2) Here is the evidence:

    (a) Professor Quirk tells us that the use of some means that an amount of

    something is known to the speaker.

    (b) Professor Huddleston gives these two examples (I have changed

    two words):

    The store was closed, so I could not buy any cookies.

    The store was closed, so I could not buy some cookies. (The professor

    explains that the difference is slight. Some draws more attention to the

    intention (plan) that I had to buy some.

    (c) Professor Jacobson gives these two examples:

    If Will has any apples, I want them.

    If Will has some apples, I want them. (The professor says that the use of

    some means that the speaker believes that Will has apples.)

    *****

    Now we have to make some guesses.

    (3) There is no doubt that the VOA's sentence is "good" English.

    (1) Our dear friend Mr. Michael Swan says:

    We use any affirmative clauses after words that have a negative or

    limiting meaning:

    You never give me any help.

    There is little point in doing any more work.

    We got there without any trouble.

    (2) It is only my guess that -- as you suggested -- it would also

    be "good" English to use some in the VOA's sentence. But I am not

    able to explain the difference.

    (a) Using the evidence from those scholars whom I have cited, I

    will make a guess. Of course, I may be 100% wrong.

    (i) Only a fraction of victims have received any help.
    (ii) Only a fraction of victims have received some help.

    It seems to me that (ii) means that the speaker (or the writer)

    knows for sure that some victims have indeed received

    an indefinite amount of help.

    Sorry that I cannot help more.

    THANK YOU

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