Some/Any and A(An)/One in English

Some An A One Any English

When we talk about positive and negative statements in English, an interesting topic is the use of Some and A(An) versus Any and One.

SOME/ANY

SOME is used in a positive statement in order to show either:

1. The plural of something (for countable nouns) – I need some fresh towels.

or

2. A small quantity of something (for non-countable nouns) – Cathy has some toothpaste today.

 

ANY is used in a negative statement to show that something is nonexistent:

1. I don’t have any. (fresh towels)        In other words, I have zero fresh towels.

2. Yesterday she didn’t have any. (toothpaste)        Yesterday, she had zero toothpaste.

Notice how ANY is not followed by a noun, for the simple reason that the noun was already mentioned before and there is no need to repeat it.

 

A(AN)/ONE

A(AN) are used in a positive statement  to show that the speaker is referring to just one item:

1. He will buy an umbrella.

2. My friend is getting a teapot.

Remember that we use an when the next word starts with a vowal and a when the next word starts with a consonant for singular nouns.

ONE is used in a negative statement to show that the speaker is referring to just one item:

1. He doesn’t have one. (an umbrella)

2. She didn’t own one. (a teapot)

ONE replaces the noun here since it was already mentioned before.

 

English QUIZ

Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word SOME/ANY/A/AN/ONE:

  1. I need to buy some plates. I don’t have _________.
  2. Can I borrow a cup? I don’t have ____________.
  3. You need some shampoo. You don’t have _________.
  4. They can take an egg. They don’t have __________.
  5. We need _________ sugar. We don’t have any.
  6. Her mom would like to borrow ___ platter. She doesn’t have one.
  7. Please give your brother ___ apple. He doesn’t have one.

 

ANSWERS

    1. any, 2. one, 3. any, 4. one, 5. some, 6. a, 7. an

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