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“Any” or “some” in various questions?

I'm trying to figure out which is correct, or if both are correct.

From what I understand (and I may be wrong, so please correct me)... "some" can be used with non-count nouns and plural count nouns. Example: "I have some information about the car accident". "Any" can be used in questions and in negative sentences. Example: "Do you have any information about the next class?"

Am I correct with "any" versus "some", especially with regard to the word "information"?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Mitch, MετάEd, JSBձոգչ, Daniel Nov 27 '12 at 19:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

See also http://english.stackexchange.com/a/88230/15299. – John Lawler Nov 26 '12 at 23:22
@John: These negative-polarity-items are so useful I see someone's created a tag for them - so I've flagged this question accordingly. Anyone up for flagging some more? – FumbleFingers Nov 26 '12 at 23:40

I think that any or some are nearly synonymous in the context of question:

  • Can I get some information about...
  • Can I get any information about...

But in the context of an answer, any would be incorrect. You use some.

Here is some information about...

The difference in the question is all in tone. In the context of a question, any sounds a little more urgent — as though no information has been previously offered. To ask for some information recognizes that there may be information out there, but you have a more specific information request.

You can do a search on "some versus any" to back this up, perhaps?


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+1 for a clear distinction. Urgent isn't really the correct word though, I think any's more like I need the information badly, small or big, relevant or irrelevant i.e. desperately. 'Some' OTOH, is without emphasis. – Chibueze Opata Nov 27 '12 at 3:27

Regardless of what most usage books say, it might help you to better understand the distinction if you're mindful of the following points:

(1) It's all about the meaning. What "some"/"any" means is all that matters. "Some" means something limited in the context, whereas "any" emphasizes that there's no such limitation. For example, by "some information" you mean "a limited set of information given the context." By "any information", you mean "an unlimited set of information given the context."

(2) Generally, you have a limited set of information. Hence, "I have some information about the car accident." If, however, you'd like to emphasize that you know all about the car accident, you might be able to say, contrary to most usage books, "I have any information about the car accident", although the usual context makes it very unlikely.

(3) The difference between "Do you have any/some information about the next class?" is that you normally use "some" here for the context-specific limited set of information, and that you may well use "any" instead in order to emphasize that you're not limiting the type of information about the next class.

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