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English Grammar

The difference between some/any and no article

Uncountable and plural nouns are often used either with some/any or with no article. Usually there is no difference of meaning.

  • I need (some) writing paper.
  • Have you got (any) rice?
The difference

We use some/any when we are talking about limited but rather indefinite number or quantities. We use no article when we are thinking about unlimited numbers or quantities, or not thinking about numbers/quantities at all.

Compare:

  • We have bought some eggs. (Limited quantity)
  • Do you like eggs? (No idea of number)
  • Is there any milk in the bottle? (Limited quantity)
  • Milk has a sweet taste. (No idea of quantity)
  • We bought a lot of apples yesterday.
  • Apples are red. (General statement)
  • I would like a little coffee, please.
  • We planted some trees in the garden. (Limited number)
  • There were trees on either side of the road. (No idea of number)

Sections In This Article
Introduction to Articles
The Definite Article
Cases where the definite article should not be used
The Indefinite Article
Cases where articles should not be used
What to use - A/an or the
The difference between some/any and no article
Common expressions without articles
Articles: special rules and exceptions

 

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