someone or anyone in questions

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Senior Member
Muy buenas tardes, busco una respuesta en Espanol porque necesito explicar esto a unos amigos de Mexico. Ellos aprendieron en clase que Anyone siempre se usa en pregntas y luego se puede responder con "someone or anyone". Luego les pregunte, "how does someone take care of a coconut tree" y se confundio mucho. Asi que, como les explico cuando usar someone o anyone en preguntas?

Is anyone there?
Is someone there?
Can someone help me? not Can anyone help me?

Podria poner un mundo de ejemplos. Alguien sabe alguna regla o explicacion sobre esto? Mil gracias.
  • Sprachliebhaber

    Member Emeritus
    USA English
    La respuesta es que no es cierto que "anyone" pero no "someone" puede usarse en preguntas. La diferencia es que "anyone" es "cualquier persona" y "someone" es "alguna persona". Y por fin, "can anyone help me" y "can someone help me" son ambos correctos. En muchos casos las dos palabras son intercambiables.


    Senior Member
    English (Generic Midwest Variety)
    Good question. I think there are differences in the use of someone and anyone. But it's hard to explain the difference. It seems to me that anyone is a bit more theoretical than someone.

    For example
    You'd ask "is someone there" if you thought you heard someone in the room (i.e., someone exists). But you'd ask "is anyone here," if you were opening the door of a room you presumed to be vacant (no one exists).


    If you needed help and there was a group of people standing there, you'd say "Can someone help me?" But if you thought no help was available, you'd ask "Can anyone help me?"

    It's kind of like someone is indicative and anyone is subjunctive.

    Does that make any sense at all?


    Senior Member
    UK English
    An interesting take on this is that the 'some'-words imply some sort of limit while the 'any'-compounds express a lack of limitation.

    Thus it is more normal to use 'any' in questions and negatives - 'no' + 'no limit' - while also possible to say:

    "Do you want something to eat?"
    "Do you want anything to eat?"
    "Can't you find someone to give you a lift?"
    "Anyone with any sense at all will realise that....."
    "Anything you say will be taken down and may be used......."



    Senior Member
    Thank you so much. Really that is helpful. It seems like it may be a case of getting used to the language and feeling when one is right or not. Your answers completely make sense and it will be easier now to explain it to my friend.

    Thanks so much.
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