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What is the difference if we use "any" instead of "some"?


Teacher: Stanley has some difficulties both mentally and physically. Don’t scold him or laugh at him if he makes some mistakes.
Hebee: Yes.
(Kokko and May, a comic book)

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Tara2if he makes some mistakes

~ if he makes a few mistakes (He might make a few mistakes.)

This is the intended meaning.

Tara2if he makes any mistakes

~ if he makes even one mistake (This sounds more strict.)


"some" usually presupposes the existence of something. "any" does not.

CJ

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Thanks a lot CJ!!!

Weather "some" is in an if clause or in a question , does it usually presupposes the existence of something?

Tara2

Weather If "some" is in an if clause or in a question, does it usually presupposes presuppose the existence of something?

Yes, but only in the imagined world of the if-clause or question, of course.

CJ

Can I ask what you mean by "but only in the imagined world of the if-clause or question, of course"? I think if-clauses are imagined but I don't know of questions.

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In if-clauses and in questions you will see both "some" and "any", and they are used the same as in statements. "some" generally presupposes the existence of something. So you can really ignore my remarks about "in the world of imagination".

CJ

Thank you very much, CJ!!!

Sorry just this question, please. Whjy in the sentence below that guidance that you said is reverse?

I think that if you use the first sentence you are probably not expecting the person to need any help, whereas with the second one you are expecting that they will need some help.



-If you need some help, let me know.
-If you need any help, let me know.

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Tara2I think that if you use the first sentence you are probably not expecting the person to need any help, whereas with the second one you are expecting that they will need some help.

I look at it the opposite way!

If you need some help sounds like you might need help or maybe that I do have help to give you. (There exists the help you need if you need it, and I have at least a general idea of what it might be.)
If you need any help sounds like I don't really expect you to need help or maybe that I'll have to work out a way to help that I haven't thought of yet. (There doesn't already exist the kind of help you may need.)

You shouldn't take these very fine distinctions very seriously, however, because there are thousands of ways that "some" and "any" are used where it is not really obvious how "some" necessarily presupposes existence. I think that in this example some people would use "some" and others would use "any", and they could both mean the exact same thing.

CJ

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