Can you help me spot the difference between

Do you want to buy SOME pencils?


Do you want to buy ANY pencils?'

Does 'SOME' imply 'quantity' and does 'ANY' imply 'any kind of'?

To me 'Do you want to buy SOME pencils?' sounds more like an offer suggesting that a person would buy some number of pencils. Whereas 'Do you want to buy ANY pencils?' would rather mean that a person needs any kind of pencils. Am I right or wrong?

  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/3694/…
    – Barmar
    Oct 12, 2019 at 0:31
  • The unmarked (and idiomatic) "Do you want to buy any pencils?" and the rarer "Do you want to buy ANY pencils?" (with considerable stress on 'any') are different in meaning. The unmarked sentence is transparent, and differs only slightly in nuance from "Do you want to buy some pencils?" I'd say the 'any' sentence is more likely after looking at (or considering) various items [that might be] in a shop. The 'some' sentence would be more likely on just coming to a stationers. // However, the stressed 'any' sentence either means 'just ANY old' or is a sign of frustration: "Buy some. ANY!" Oct 12, 2019 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


To me, some implies that you expect to sell several pencils at a time, as you said, possibly because they are packaged as a set.

'Do you want to buy any?' sounds like a more tentative offer. 'I have pencils here if you happen to need one.'


Do you want to buy SOME pencils mean that you are expecting the people you ask will say yes. Do you want to buy ANY pencils mean you do not expect the people you ask will say yes or no

  • I also agree Kate's answer, it is correct "some" is mostly used for a several pencils and "any" can be one or more.
    – Max Chan
    Oct 12, 2019 at 8:48

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