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Is it correct to say there was some kid in the classroom?

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closed as general reference by Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, Mitch, aedia λ, JSBձոգչ, simchona Nov 14 '11 at 18:14

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you asking if it is correct, or do people say it (in my experience they do say it), or are you asking why do they say that instead of "a kid"? – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Nov 14 '11 at 14:36
Check out the definition of 'some' and you'll see that it is a determiner for "someone or something that is unknown or unspecified" – Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Nov 14 '11 at 14:38
Depends on your intended meaning. Yes, if you're trying to say "there was an unspecified child in the classroom"; no, if you're trying to say "there were a number of children in the classroom". – scottishwildcat Nov 14 '11 at 15:14
It's a highly informal spoken usage, akin to there was this kid in the classroom. You wouldn't normally write it. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '11 at 15:38

Yes, some is used in this way to mean ‘One or other; an undetermined or unspecified’ (Oxford English Dictionary). It can be accompanied by . . . or other after the noun it modifies. It often carries a derogatory sense, I suppose because it sounds dismissive to be no more precise. It’s probably more frequent in speech than in writing.

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It is normally derogatory, but so is the alternative this, which is (superficially, at least) about as precise as you can get. Not so likely in this particular phrase, but in some similar constructions the word your can be used, with more neutral / positive connotations. – FumbleFingers Nov 14 '11 at 15:44

It is correct to say

There was some kid in the classroom.

Here some is used to refer to a particular thing without saying which.

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I think it's most often used with something following about who this particular child was or what he did. For example, "There was some kid in the classroom who stole the teacher's answer key" or "There was some kid in the classroom who came from France". In such cases, I think it's quite correct and appropriate: you are saying that you do not have any further indication of which child you are talking about except the statement that follows. Clearly there's a big difference between, "Billy Smith stole the answer key" and "Some kid stole the answer key": The former clearly states who did it; the latter indicates that you either don't know or prefer not to say.

P.S. While the phrasing may be somewhat informal, using the word "kid" rather than "child" or "student" is much more informal.

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