'Some', 'Any', and 'No Article'

(This is an extract from my book: A and The Explained)

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We can use some, any or 'no article' before plural or uncountable nouns. They all mean something similar to a/an before a singular noun. For example:

The difference between some and 'no article':

Often, there isn't a big difference in meaning between 'no article' and some. However, we use some when we are talking about a limited number or amount (but we don't know or we don't want to say the exact quantity).

Some means 'a certain number of' or 'a certain amount of'. We don't use some if we are talking about something in general or thinking about it as a category. When we use some, we don't say the exact quantity, but we could probably find it out if we needed to. For example: On the other hand, we use 'no article' when we aren't thinking about the quantity. It's used to talk about the noun as a category, rather than a certain amount of it: More examples: Remember that often it doesn't make a big difference: Try an exercise about this here.

The difference between some and any:

Generally, we use any in the same way as some: when we are thinking about a certain amount or number of something. Remember, usually both some and any can only be used with plural countable nouns or uncountable nouns, but not usually with singular countable nouns.

We usually use some with affirmative (positive) sentences and any with negatives and questions: However, there are some exceptions to this.

1: Any can be used in a positive sentence to mean 'it's not important which one'. When we use any in this way, it's most often used with singular countable nouns: 2: Any can also be used in positive sentences that have a negative feeling, for example if they include never, hardly, without: 3: Some can be used in questions when we expect that the answer will be 'yes'. This is very common in offers and requests: Compare the following two sentences: Try another exercise about this here.

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'A' and 'The' Explained