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Some chocolate? Any chocolate? What’s the difference?

It’s confusing because they can be the same and they can be different.

Both some and any mean an undetermined quantity – in my examples they probably mean quite a lot:

I need to buy some dark chocolate.
Are there any chilli chocolates left?

So, what’s the difference?

In the affirmative some is common, whereas any is used more in questions and negatives:

I want some chocolate.
Have you got any chocolate?
Sorry, I haven’t got any chocolate.

We do use some in questions when expecting a positive answer:

Would you like some more chocolate?
Could I have some chocolate cupcakes, please?
Shouldn’t there be some chocolate in this tin?

Any can be used in the affirmative after words with a negative or limiting meaning:

You never give me any chocolate.
There’s hardly any chocolate left.
I can’t believe I got through the whole day without any chocolate.

While with ‘if’, we can use both:

If you want any/some chocolate, let me know.

To help you remember the differences, make up your own examples.

For other common confusions, see here, here and here.

And if you want any/some help, email me your question.

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© Christina Wielgolawski