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Can someone help me in this case?

  1. Do you know something about that girl? ("something"= A gossip or something like that.)

  2. Do you know anything about that girl? (the same as: "Do you really know her?")

Are these meanings correct?

  • In declarative sentences something would be used (more often) in positive sentences, while anything would be used (more often) in negative sentences. In interrogative sentences it doesn't matter, but it can sounds as if the one with something expects a positive answer, while the one with anything expects a negative one. – mama Feb 6 '19 at 15:32
  • I just want to comment on @mama's comment. positive and negative here - not as in good or bad, but as in more information or less. positive: I know she dances. negative: I know she does not dance. Right @mama? – nycynik Feb 6 '19 at 16:24
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"Something" is usually more specific, while "anything" is all-inclusive. That's why "anything" is often used in a negative sentence, since it's negation is more conclusive. "I don't know anything about that." vs. "I don't know something about that." The first is absolute ignorance, the second is ignorance of a particular fact. (No one would use the second sentence though. They would say, "That is something I don't know" or just "I don't know.")

Your example is tough, because it can be taken many different ways. It would be nice to have a little more context. The meaning depends on the intent. Here's some examples.

As a flat Yes-No question:

"Do you know something about that girl? You are acting strangely around her."
(Do you possess a relevant piece of information about her?)

"Do you know anything about that girl? I need someone to introduce her."
(Do you possess any piece of information at all about her?)

As a rhetorical question:

"Do you know something about that girl? She's a convicted felon."
(I am about to present you with a particular piece of information about her.)

"Do you know anything about that girl? You can't just sleep with a stranger."
(I am pointing out your lack of information about her.)

As a request for information:

"Do you know something about that girl? I'd like to start a conversation with her."
(I'd like some useful information about her.)

"Do you know anything about that girl? I'm thinking about approaching her."
(I'd like any piece of information at all about her.)

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