6

After reading "Is everyone" singular or plural?", I would refrain from asking this question, but the husband of a colleague of mine (English professor, native speaker of British English) stated against it, so I am looking for further enlightenment.

He advocates some should be solely used to refer to plural forms. Thus,

some non-existent towns

is perfectly correct, but

some non-existent town

should be replaced by

a non-existent town

Is that true?

10

Some indeed can be use in this general sense.

If you visit OneLook, you'll see several meanings of the word some. One of them reads:

some used for referring to a person or thing without knowing or without saying exactly which one

So, saying:

We'll go to some beach tomorrow.

We'll stop at some restaurant on the way home.

are both perfectly acceptable. As a matter of fact, if you made the noun plural:

We'll stop at some restaurants on the way home.

That would imply that we are stopping at more than one restaurant.

  • 3
    "Some" emphasizes the indefiniteness over your friend's recommendation of "a". If you say, "Some friend of Bob called me today", it conveys that you don't know who this person was or don't want to say. But "A friend of Bob called me today" doesn't have that connotation -- the friend is not mysterious or unknown. – Jay Mar 9 '12 at 15:04
  • Some can also emphasise indefiniteness in the plural. "I met a few people in town today". "Which people?". "Oh, just some guys". – FumbleFingers Mar 9 '12 at 21:54
  • 1
    @Jay Wouldn't that be "Some friend of Bob's called me today"? – Tucker Apr 22 '14 at 12:38
  • 1
    "Of Bob" indicates a possessive. I think "of Bob's" is redundant -- you're indicating the possessive with "of" and then again with the apostrophe-s. People often say that, and I don't suppose it creates ambiguity, but I think it's unnecessary. – Jay Apr 22 '14 at 13:04
  • 1
    @NicolasBarbulesco Yes, I'm a native of the U.S. "yours", "mine", etc, seem like curious words to me. Sometimes we use "mine" as the possessive of "me", that is, instead of saying "me's". Like the parallel to "This book is Bob's" is "This book is mine." But then we don't use it when the word is placed before the noun. "This is Bob's book" becomes "This is my book." I'm not sure why we need both "my" and "mine" for this idea. – Jay Jun 24 '14 at 13:35
3

Some is used to refer to a particular person or thing without stating which. For example,

Some customer called yesterday.

-2

You're right, he's right, they're right, everyone's right.

Just incomplete. No one has mentioned the important detail.

"A non-existent town" - CORRECT "Some non-existent town" - INFORMAL

That's all there is to it.

"Some" is being used EXACTLY the way "a" is supposed to be used. You can't use "some" in this way in proper speech or writing. It in formal, stressing the indefiniteness. For further emphasis (almost to the point of being silly), we may also say "Some random non-existent town."

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