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Could anyone explain the usage of any or some in a question? It seems to me there must be a subtle difference. I know 'any' should be used in a question e.g. 'Do you need any help?' But I've also heard saying 'Do you need some help?' Thank you in advance!

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Any makes the question much more generic. If you do not know the type of help the person you are asking may need, then you would likely use 'any'.

If it is clear what the person is struggling with then you would use 'some'. E.g. if you came across a little old lady on the street with heavy bags, using 'some' would sound warmer and more friendly.

If you worked in a call centre, at the end of the call you may ask 'is there anything else I can help you with?' which would sound more general and more natural for that particular context.

  • Thank you for this! So when using 'some', help is offered in a friendly way and required and when using 'any', help is offered in a formal way and not necessarily required. This is very useful! – David Nov 14 '18 at 13:38

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