Anything vs Something

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by La Bionda, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. La Bionda Senior Member

    Nottingham
    German (Living in England)
    Hi

    I am learning Italian since I want to live and work in Italy and I have some Italian friends living out there. One of them does speak English very well but he posted the question to me 'What is the difference between any and some?' I am not a native English speaker, did study English grammar but could not find a way of explaining it simply. Can anybody help please?? :)

    Thank you!
     
  2. ivanbcn Senior Member

    Italiano - Roma
    They taught at school me that, in general, you use any in questions and negative sentences
    "do you have any + NOUN?"

    I don't have any + NOUN"

    You use some in affirmative sentences

    "I have some + NOUN"

    They also taught me that it is not always so easy, because, for example, when you make questions (kindly offering something to someone, you expect a positive answer), you use "some" and not "any"

    "Will you have some coffee?"

    actually, i read somewhere that "some" in questions occurs more than "any"

    bye
    ivan
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thinking hard.
    This simple question is difficult to answer.
    Could I have something to drink? - Anything cold will do.

    I think you need a clearer thinker:(
     
  4. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    Some examples might help. Let's list a few. I'll start...

    Do you have any books?
    Hai qualche libro?

    Do you have some books?
    Hai dei libri?
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you click here you will find some useful information, including links to other sites that discuss the topic.

    I wish you well. Many of the examples given are easy to agree with. There are also many that I could discuss further - where perhaps there is a subtle difference in meaning depending on which word is used.
     
  6. La Bionda Senior Member

    Nottingham
    German (Living in England)
    Hi

    Thanks for getting back to me. It is not easy to answer - I agree. Sometimes you ask 'Do you want something to drink?' or even 'Do you want anything to drink?'
    I will check out the links and see what else they reckon. Thanks so much for giving me some ideas though! :)
    All part of the fun learning and speaking languages...:D
     
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The Oxford English Grammar refers to the some... group (some, someone, somebody, something) as assertive, the any... group (any etc) as non-assertive.

    The assertives have a positive force, most obvious in questions.

    Non-assertives have a negative force, and tend to occur in non-assertive contexts - particularly in negative, interrogative and conditional clauses.

    It is very careful not to be prescriptive - interesting:)
     
  8. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    I think pinning down rules is going to be tougher than I first expected.
    These came to me when I thought what I would say in Italian, and now
    I'm not sure the nuance of difference I think is there is even right.
    in the familiar:
    do you want something to drink... vuoi qualcosa da bere
    do you want anything to drink ... vuoi bere qualcosa
     
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    do you want something to drink... vuoi qualcosa da bere
    do you want anything to drink ... vuoi bere qualcosa


    lsp: - that is the example that has been teasing me:)
    I can't find any difference between them - I think I would say either, comfortably. Can you explain the nuance to a non-Italian:eek:
     
  10. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    No, it's tickling my brain in both languages! I just instinctively sense a difference in English that I can't articulate, and when I wrote the first thing that came to me, I found myself saying them differently in Italian, too. And I'm not sure Italians will even agree with me.
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Suggestion:
    One is used at a party when your glass looks empty (you aren't really thirsty).
    The other is used on hot days when you arrive home (with your tongue hanging out).

    I was going to say which was which, but now I am totally confused.
    I thought I would post the different situations anyway - in case it helps:confused:
     
  12. Arwenastral New Member

    Russian, Ucraine
    I know English rather well though it's not my native language. The difference between some and any in questions does exist. If you ask 'Would you like some tea?' (the tea that's in the teapot, a little part of that substance, not the whole tea in the world) You presuppose that the person would actually agree - it's a polite request.If you ask "Do you want any tea"? you are trying to find out if the person wants any tea at all, not specially green or orange.
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Would you like something else?
    Invites a positive respone.

    Would you like anything else?
    Invites a negative response.

    HERE is a discussion in English Only that might help.
    If nothing else, it suggests that people learn things by hanging around in WordReference for a year.
     
  14. ClericCinderella New Member

    Italia, italiano
    Hi,
    I need to translate in English this sentence:

    Se mi hai chiesto qualcosa d'altro ecc..ecc...

    What is correct?

    If you ask me anything else etc..etc..
    or
    If you ask me something else etc...etc..

    Thank's
     
  15. fran06

    fran06 Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian Italy
    Ciao,
    per essere onesta non capisco la frase italiana. Mi sembra sbagliata, non so....potresti postarla tutta?

    ;)
     
  16. Gioppino

    Gioppino Senior Member

    Milano
    Italiano
    Anything viene utilizzato in frasi interrogative o negative, e something in quelle positive o interrogative che presumono un risposta affermativa.

    Almento questo è quello che in sintesi mi ha insegnato la mia insegnante d'inglese delle scuole superiori.

    ciao
     
  17. ClericCinderella New Member

    Italia, italiano
    la frase completa è
    Se mi hai chiesto qualcos' altro (nel senso mi hai chiesto qualcosa di diverso) mi scuso per l'eventuale risposta errata.

    Quindi dovrei usare something? La mia frase non è una domanda è un'ipotetica anche se fa riferimento a una domanda fattami in precedenza.
     
  18. fran06

    fran06 Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian Italy
    Io direi:

    I apologize if I misunderstood your request.

    Ma aspetta i madrelingua:)
    Ciao;)
     
  19. ClericCinderella New Member

    Italia, italiano
    grazie, ormai le ho scritto ma ho come l'impressione che la persona non capirà nemmeno la mia risposta :(
     
  20. cas29

    cas29 Senior Member

    Milan Italy
    Canada/English
    Scusa, ma questa non è una frasa completa.

    Se mi hai chiesto qualcos'altro ???l'avrei ????

    Probabilmente, dato che hai detto "qualcosa diversa", deve essere something invece di anything.

    If you had asked me (for) something else, I would have helped.
     
  21. fran06

    fran06 Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian Italy
    Ciao Cas,
    ClericC. in realtà ha detto:
    La frase c'è tutta;)
     
  22. cas29

    cas29 Senior Member

    Milan Italy
    Canada/English
    Sorry!!!!!

    I think it would then be:

    If you have asked me for something else, (I apologize for what may be an incorrect reply. )
     
  23. fran06

    fran06 Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian Italy

    No problem;)
    As an English speaker, would you say that or would you say it in other words? It sounds so Italian to me but ....you are the expert;)
     
  24. cas29

    cas29 Senior Member

    Milan Italy
    Canada/English
    What I would be more likely to say is:

    I am not sure if this is what you were asking - I may have given you the wrong answer.

    or

    I'm not sure if this answers your question or not.

    (If the question wasn't clear, I shouldn't have to apologize for not being able to answer it!)
     
  25. fran06

    fran06 Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian Italy

    I agree, but I think that in this case the misunderstanding is due to the lack of language skills of the person replying. Basically: Sorry, I'm not sure I have understood what you are asking for (because my English is not so good) therefore I may have given you the wrong answer.
     

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