Read about using some, any, little and few with nouns. Then, when you are ready, try these practice exercises.
Some, any, a few and a little
(+) Positive sentences
A little is used with uncountable nouns. A few is used with plural countable nouns (read about countable and uncountable nouns here if you can't remember the difference). Some can be used with both.
I got some / a few presents for my birthday. (countable)
I did some / a little work yesterday. (uncountable)
Use (very) little or (very) few without a to give the meaning not much or not many instead of some.
- I have few problems with grammar. (Not many problems - grammar is quite easy for me!)
- I have a few problems with grammar. (it's a bit difficult so I have some problems)
- I drink little alcohol. (I almost never drink alcohol. I'm very healthy!)
- I drink a little alcohol. (I sometimes have a glass of wine with friends)
(-) Negative sentences
Use any with both plural countable and uncountable nouns in negative sentences. It means 'none'.
I didn't get any presents yesterday. (countable)
I won't do any work tomorrow. (uncountable)
Usually, we use any if we are asking for information (we don't know the quantity). You can use some if your question is a request or an offer (we usually know the quantity we need or can give):
- Did you do any work yesterday? (asking for information)
- Do you have any pets? (asking for information)
- Would you like some chips? (an offer)
- Can you give me some help? (a request)
Any - advanced points
1. You can also use any in a positive sentence to mean 'there's no limit - it really doesn't matter which'. It can be with singular, plural or uncountable nouns:
You can choose any music you want for the wedding. (uncountable noun)
If you have any questions, please ask me. (plural noun)
I'll visit you any day you want me to. (singular noun)
2. You can use any with sentences with a negative meaning, even if they don't have the word not:
He refused to give me any help. (refused = said no)
He had hardly any money with him. (hardly = almost none)
Are you ready to practise this? Try the some, little, few and any practice pages.