Everyday grammar 1: some, any, much and many

Grammar : some and any
The words some and any are used when the exact number or amount of something is not known, or when it’s not important. Some and any are both used to refer to an indefinite quantity or number.
For example:
There are some trees in our garden.
(We don’t know exactly how many trees  are in the garden or it doesn’t matter how many trees there are exactly)
As opposed to:
There are three trees in our garden.
(The number of trees is important and exact)
Some and any are known as “general determiners”. They are used to modify nouns, specifically to tell us that the noun phrase is general (rather than specific).  They can be used with:
  1. Countable or uncountable nouns:
    We don’t have any time to get drinks before the film starts. (Time is uncountable)
    There are still some apples on the tree. (Apples are countable)
  2. Singular or plural nouns:
    We don’t have any chicken left for dinner. (Chicken is singular)
    It’s such nice weather! Let’s invite some friends round for a BBQ. (Friends is plural)
When do I use some and when do I use any?
Although some and any are both used to describe an indefinite number, they are used in different ways. So how do we use them correctly?
In general, some is used in positive sentences (that don’t contain the word ‘not’):
I would love to try some of that food! It looks delicious!
I have bought some strawberries and cream to have for dessert.
Let’s invite some friends round and have a party tonight!
Some people think it’s better to eat healthily than to exercise a lot.
Any is used in negative sentences (that contain the word ‘not’):
We don’t have any space left in the car so we won’t be able to give you a lift.
I don’t need any help with my homework because I can do it on my own.
There isn’t any milk in the fridge so we’ll have to have black coffee.
I’m not hungry at the moment so I don’t want anything to eat.
And in questions:
Have you got any idea how long the film lasts?
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
It would be great to season these potatoes. Is there any salt and pepper?
Do you have any plans for the summer?
There are some exceptions to these rules. We can use some in questions when offering something or making requests:
Would you like some milk and sugar in your tea?
Can I get you something to drink while you wait?
Shall we invite some friends round?
I left my wallet at home; can I borrow some money for lunch?
Much and many
Much and many are known as “quantifiers”. They are used to talk about quantities, amounts or degrees (along with ‘a lot of’ and ‘lots of’) and suggest a large quantity of something.
When do I use much and when do I use many?
Many is used with plural, countable nouns (e.g. dogs, books, tables, children). Much is used with singular, uncountable nouns (e.g. money, music, water, time):
There aren’t many doctors in the hospital today. (doctors are countable)
Many people choose to retire in Spain. (people are countable)
There isn’t much light in this room so let’s open the curtains. (light is uncountable)
Too much money  (money is uncountable)
Much and many are used with questions and negatives
How much time do you have? I don’t have much time.
How many flowers are there? There aren’t many flowers.
Much and many are used with so and too
So is used before much and money to mean emphasise big quantities.
He has so much money! They have so many children!
Too is used before much and many to express more than needed
It costs too much. There are too many people
As much or as many are used to compare
I have as much money as you. ( the same money as you)
He will buy as many books as he needs. ( all the books he needs – the number is not important)


  1. This list is useful for my jc tuition students to learn more about grammar on top of what they are studying.

    1. Great! Happy to help. Let me know what else you need.


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