Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about "something" and "anything."
This is a good followup lesson to the video about "some" and "any" and "someone or somebody" vs "anyone and anybody."
Let's get started.
Okay. I want to begin this lesson by looking at "some" and "any."
This is a review of the first lesson, a very quick review.
Let's talk about the way we use these two words.
Let's start with "some."
I have four different ways here to explain the uses of "some."
First, we use "some" in positive statements.
In positive statements
For example:
"I ate some sweets at breakfast."
Or…
"I ate some sweets for breakfast."
So the difference here in this preposition choices, is that "at" shows us that during breakfast, at the meal of breakfast, I ate something that was sweet or I ate some sweets, rather.
If I use "for," however, it means my breakfast was sweets. That's the only thing that I ate for breakfast. "I ate some sweets for breakfast" sounds like I ate just candy or just sweet things at breakfast.
So "at" means one item at breakfast.
"For" means everything at my breakfast.
You can use this same difference in preposition throughout the lesson.
But anyway, "I ate some sweets at breakfast" is the main point here. Please note that after "some," we have a noun, a countable noun in this case and the countable noun is in the plural form, "sweets." This is a key point. "I ate some sweets at breakfast."
Next, we use "some" to make requests, so to ask for things.
When we need to make a request from somebody, we use "some."
For example:
"Will you buy me some snacks?"
Will you buy me some snacks?
Again, we see "some" comes before our countable noun, "snacks," in this case, and we're using this in the plural form.
"Will you buy me some snacks?" is how a native speaker would say that.
Another type of question we use "some" with is with confirmation questions.
Confirmation questions
So sometimes, these sound like a yes-or-no question. Sometimes, they end with a, "right?" This "right" at the end of the question shows we expect that this statement is correct, but we want to check, we want to confirm.
So a confirmation question is used to check something with another person. We think we're correct, but we want to be sure.
For example:
"You bought some drinks, right?"
You bought some drinks, right?
Here again, "some" comes before the countable noun "drinks," which is in the plural form. This question uses "right" at the end.
If you want to, you could use, "You bought some drinks?" as a way to kind of express surprise, I suppose. But if you want to confirm very clearly, you could use "right?" to show that or to show that you would like to check.
Finally with "some," we use "some" to make offers.
So, if we want to give someone something, we can use "some" to do that.
For example:
"Would you like some cake?"
Would you like some cake?
So here, we can use "cake" as an uncountable noun or as a countable noun. It's a little bit flexible in some ways, In this case, the speaker is probably offering a piece of cake, so they could say, "Would you like a piece of cake?" to be very specific. Or, this is also quite natural, "Would you like some cake?"
"Would you like some cake?"
So, we can use uncountable nouns with "some." Just please note that there's not an S at the end of this. "Would you like some cakes?" would sound like would you like several, maybe large cakes, which would probably not be the case in many situations. So just, "Would you like some cake?" which actually means, "Would you like a piece of cake?"
Okay. So, with this in mind about "some," let's review how we use "any" then.
"Any" is used in negative statements.
So this is a key point.
"Some" is used for positive statements.
"Any" is used in negative statements.
So the opposite of this sentence:
"I didn't eat any sweets at breakfast."
I didn't eat any sweets at breakfast.
So here, you'll notice that there are two things different, "I didn't eat," this is negative. This is different from the positive sentence in past tense, "I ate." So my positive sentence looks like this. My negative sentence looks like this. "I didn't eat," I didn't eat.
And, "any" is included here in place of "some" to make the sentence negative.
So, a negative verb and then we use a different word. Instead of "some," we use "any." So, for example, "I didn't eat some sweets for breakfast" is not correct. We cannot use that sentence.
"I didn't eat any sweets at breakfast."
Okay.
The second use of "any" is for information questions. We use "any" to ask information questions. We need some information from somebody, but it's not quite a confirmation question. We're not making an offer, we're not making a request, we need to get some information. In those cases, often yes-or-no questions, we use "any."
For example:
"Do we need any drinks?"
Do we need any drinks?
Here, I'm using "drinks," in this case, a countable noun in the plural form.
Just as with "some," we can use uncountable nouns too, but please keep in mind, there will be no S at the end of the noun.
For example:
"Do we need any beer?"
"Do we need any wine?"
When you're planning a party.
So yes, you can use uncountable and countable nouns with both of these words.
So, with this review in your mind, let's continue to the second part of this lesson.
We'll be looking at "something" and "anything."
So, let's start with "something."
"Something" has the same uses as "some," but it refers to one object or one concept only. So "some" can refer to a few of something, like a small amount of something. We're not like clear about the amount or the quantity, but it refers to more than one of something. "Something," however, refers to one object, one item, or one concept.
So, another keypoint about "something" and "anything" is that it's a pronoun. It's a pronoun. So, a reminder, a pronoun… pronouns are words used as substitutes for nouns.
So, let's see how these are creating different sentences then.
Let's look at this one first:
"I ate something sweet at breakfast."
I ate something sweet at breakfast.
Or "I ate something sweet for breakfast."
Here, let's notice this point, "something sweet." This is very different from "some sweets." So why is this different? Here, "something" is my pronoun . It's acting as like a stand-in for a noun, so we don't know what noun. It could be pancakes, it could be ice cream, it could be candy, I don't know.
But "sweet" here, this is an adjective.
So another way to say this is:
"I ate a sweet item."
Or "I ate a sweet food at breakfast."
But, we say "I ate something sweet at breakfast."
So this is a key difference. The word looks very similar to "sweets," but in this sentence, "sweets" is a noun. This is a noun in the plural form. Here, it's an adjective so please keep in mind that the grammar of the sentence changes slightly.
So "I ate something sweet at breakfast."
Again, "I ate something sweet at breakfast" means there was one sweet object at my breakfast, during breakfast.
"I ate something sweet for breakfast" sounds like my whole breakfast were sweets, like I ate a lot of really sweet pancakes, for example.
So, let's look at another example of this:
"Will you buy me something to eat?"
Will you buy me something to eat?
Here, we're following something with a verb in the infinitive form.
"Will you buy me something to eat?"
So this is quite different from this sentence:
"Will you buy me some snacks?"
Will you buy me some snacks?
Here, "something," the speaker is using "something" to mean some object, some item, one of an item to eat, for the purpose of eating. So, will you buy me an item?
Will you buy me an object? Will you buy me a food item to eat?
So we don't use "some" here.
"Will you buy me some foods to eat?" sounds quite strange.
Or, you could say, "Will you buy me some snacks?"
That would sound good, but not…
"Will you buy something snacks?"
Or Will you buy me some to eat?"
We can't use those sorts of patterns. We can use "something to eat" or we could use "Will you buy me some snacks?"
I suppose you could say, "Will you buy me some snacks to eat?" but that's kind of, like redundant. Redundant means we're repeating information. Of course, snacks are for eating, so we don't need to say, "Will you buy me some snacks to eat?" It sounds like we're saying the same thing two times.
So you can use this pattern:
"Will you buy me something to eat?"
Okay. Onto the next example sentence. This one is a confirmation question that uses "something."
"You bought something to drink, right?"
You bought something to drink, right?
So, this is fairly similar to this sentence:
"You bought some drinks, right?
But keep in mind, again, in this sentence, "some drinks" is replaced with "something to drink," something to drink. So in this sentence, "something to drink" refers to one item, one thing to drink. Here, "drinks," this is the noun form, the plural form of the noun "drink." Here, we're showing a purpose, instead, with a verb, "something to drink."
So this is a fairly common pattern, actually, with "something." You'll see "something" followed by a verb in the infinitive form, which shows us the purpose.
"Something to eat"
"Something to drink"
"I want something to read."
"I want something to watch"
And so on…
So, we use "something" to mean any object or any concept in some cases.
Let's look at one more example sentence, in this case, an offer.
"Would you like something for dessert?"
Would you like something for dessert?
So here, you'll notice that instead of "something to" + (a verb), we're using "something for dessert." So, the speaker in this case is being very specific like a waiter or a waitress at a restaurant about the meal, or in this case, the end of the meal. So we use "for dessert" in this case.
You could say, would you like something for lunch, for dinner, for breakfast, and so on. We use "meals" or courses in meals with "for."
So, "something" is used here. We could not substitute "cake" in this sentence, like, "Would you like something cake?" We cannot use that. The reason that dessert is used here, along with "something" is this is an offer to the listener. In other words, asking the listener to choose a dessert item. So, this is a sentence that would be said by wait staff at a restaurant as they pass the dessert menu to the listener, like "Would you like something for dessert?" So, the listener can choose from the dessert menu one item or two items, I suppose. But you can choose something from the menu and that's what this something is referring to.
So we cannot combine this with a sentence like this:
"Would you like some cake?"
This provides us one option only, so "cake" is my only option.
This suggests that there are more than one option for dessert.
So these are these, kind of subtle changes, these small changes that using "something" and "some" can result in.
Okay. So, let's finish off this lesson or rather finish off the main points of this lesson by looking at "anything," anything.
As with "something," "anything" has the same uses as "any," but refers to one object or one concept or lack thereof or zero of something.
So let's look at these examples.
First:
"I didn't eat anything sweet at breakfast."
I didn't eat anything sweet at breakfast.
So again, in this case, this is a negative statement. So as we learned over here, as we reviewed over here, we use "any" in negative statements.
"I didn't eat anything sweet."
Just as we did with "something," "something" is followed by an adjective here. "Anything" is also followed by an adjective.
"I didn't eat anything sweet at breakfast."
That means during my breakfast, at breakfast time, I did not eat sweet items. I did not eat sweet food. I didn't eat anything sweet at breakfast.
The next sentence is:
"Do we need anything?"
Or you might hear, more specifically:
"Do we need anything to drink?"
Or "Do we need anything to eat?"
And so on…
This is a very useful question at, like a supermarket or if you're leaving your home to go to a supermarket.
"Do we need anything?
Or "Do we need anything to drink?"
So, this is kind of...it can be used as a more open question.
This one is very specific, "Do we need any drinks?" Do we need any drinks? In this case, we're using "drinks" as the noun after any, which is making this more specific question, but this question, "Do we need anything? Do we need anything?" this question is more open, like…
"I'm going to the store. Do we need anything?"
Or "I'm going to the store. Do you need anything?"
"Do you want anything?"
Those kinds of questions are very open.
You can make this more specific by attaching a verb.
"Do we need anything to drink?"
"Do we need anything to eat?"
And so on…
So, this is an information question, again. You're looking for information from the listener.
Okay. So, with this in mind, I want to look at a couple of sentences, a couple of questions, rather, that seem very similar, but perhaps have some very small differences that may be good to keep in mind. So, let's compare these.
First are these two, which begin with "did," did.
So, let's read them first:
"Did you say something?"
[At native speed] "Did you say something?"
And…
"Did he say anything?"
"Did he say anything?" [at native speed]
So what's the difference between these?
"Did you say something?" sounds like a confirmation question.
"Did you say something?"
We're expecting a quick, "yeah" or "no" answer in response.
"Did you say something?"
So we want to confirm, I thought you said something.
"Did you say something?"
This one, however, is asking for information.
"Did he say anything?"
"Did he say anything?" sounds like maybe you met a colleague who had a meeting with your boss earlier in the day, and you want to ask about the meeting, like, "Oh, did he say anything about our project?" or "Did he say anything about next week?"
So, this is an information question.
This is a confirmation question.
So the confirmation question sounds more natural with "something."
The information question sounds more natural with "anything."
"Did he say anything?"
"Did she say anything?"
And so on…
So, with that in mind, let's continue to this next pair, very similar.
"Are you looking for anything?"
Or, "Are you looking for something?"
So these are extremely similar and you may hear these used interchangeably.
But the first one, "Are you looking for anything?" might be used more commonly by staff at a retail shop. So if you visit a store where there's, like a lot of furniture items, for example, the staff might come to you and say…
"Are you looking for anything?"
Are you looking for anything?
So, they're asking for information. They're asking for something like they want to help you find something.
This one…
"Are you looking for something?"
Are you looking for something?
This might be more commonly used by someone who can see you searching for something. Like, for example, you're looking in your bag trying to find your phone and you can't find them. Your friend might ask you…
"Are you looking for something?"
Are you looking for something?
In that case, it's a little more of a confirmation question, like it seems like you're looking for something. Is that the case? Is that correct? So this sounds more like a confirmation question.
"Are you looking for anything?" is like someone is trying to get information, maybe to help you in a shopping situation.
So these are a couple of good questions to keep in mind, and you can think about other ways, confirmation and information question patterns, that you can use with "something" and "anything."
So, I hope that this lesson about "something" and "anything" was useful. Again, if you want some more information about "some and any" or "someone and somebody," "anyone and anybody," you can take a look at our channel for those videos.
Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!

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