Monday, December 26, 2011

Pronouns and determiners - some, any, no, none, somebody, anybody, nobody etc

Practise using some, any, somebody, anybody etc, with these gapfull exercises. And also check out some related idioms and expressions.

Click and Drop - In all these gapfill exercises, click on a word in the top box, then on a suitable gap.

Pronouns - some, any, none

A pronoun stands on its own, and represents a noun.

Exercise 1 - complete the sentences with the pronouns in the box.

some   ·   any   ·   none
1.Where are the tomatoes? - There should be in that cupboard.
2.He came back home empty handed, without of the things he had been meaning to buy.
3.These are of the pictures I've painted recently.
4.Aren't there any tomatoes in the cupbpoard? - No, at all.
5.I'm making a pot of tea; would you like ?
6.And remember to bring back the change, if there is .
7.We looked at some package holidays, but of them took our fancy.
8.We could have tomatoes; are there in the cupboard?
9.We need to get more coffee; there isn't left.
10.Look at those juicy-looking tangerines. Weren't you wanting to buy ?
11.What flavour ice-cream do you want? - I don't mind, will do.
12.It's great that of my friends smoke. We're a very healthy lot.
13.He's got a couple of brothers in America, but here in the UK.
14.All pigs are equal, but are more equal than others.
15.We wanted to get tickets for the match, but there were left.

Determiners - some, any, no

A determiner comes before a noun, and references that noun, or identifies it in some way.

Exercise 2 - complete the sentences with the determiners in the box.

some   ·   any   ·   no
1.There must be absolutely talking during this exam. Is that clear?
2.Is there wine left or have we finished the bottle?
3.There's still wine left; shall we finish the bottle?
4.It's use asking him about anything; he's always 'too busy'!
5.Isn't it strange how mosquitoes bite people, but leave others completely alone?
6.She's fool, that one. You can't pull the wool over her eyes.
7.He's got hardly hair left; he's almost completely bald.
8.It could be said that lies are worse than others.
9.They say that news is good news.
10.There's wine left, unfortunately.
11.He just turned up on my doorstep without warning at all!.
12.I like modern jazz, but not the very noisy sort.
13.She didn't allow fooling around in her classroom.
14.You could buy a Model T Ford in colour you liked, as long as it was black.
15.Would you like more tea? I'm making another pot anyway.

When do we use which?

The basics

  • We usually use some and any to talk about undefined amounts of uncountable things, or quantities of countable people or things
  • We usually use some in positive statements and any in negative statements and questions
  • To talk about negative amounts or quantities, we use no, none or not any
  • The pronouns some, any and none are used:
    • on their own to represent a noun
      - No money? Don't worry, I've got some.
    • with of + a determiner (the, this, your etc)
      - Take any of these chocolates.
    • with of + a pronoun
      - None of them knew.
  • The determiners some, any and no are used:
    • before uncountable and plural nouns
      - some information, any students, no butter

We use some in questions:

  • where we expect the answer 'yes'
    - Aren't there some in the drawer?
  • in offers (some sounds more positive than any)
    - Would you like some coffee?
  • in suggestions and in making joint decisions
    - Don't those cakes look good? Shall we buy some?
  • in requests
    - Could I have some more of those delicious biscuits?

We use any in affirmative statements:

  • after words that have a limiting or restricting meaning:
    - There's hardly any wine left.
    - He never does any of the housework.
    - She forgot to buy any milk.

Some and any in if-clauses:

  • Both some and any are often found in if-clauses
    - I'll have some, if there's any left.
    - If you want any / some more, help yourselves.

Some can also be used:

  • to mean quite a lot
    - They've been going out for some time.
  • to mean 'really good, great' or 'What a ...!'
    - That was some party last night.
  • with singular nouns when we're not sure exactly who nor what (but see discussion in the next section)
    - They met at some nightclub (or other)
  • as an adverb to mean 'approximately'
    - It's some five miles from here.

Any is also be used:

  • to mean 'it doesn't matter which'
    - I don't mind, any type will do.
  • to mean 'if any exists'
    - We can have any leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
  • intensified with at all, whatever, whatsoever
    - Have you any idea at all (whatever / whatsoever) of how late it is?
  • as an adverb to mean 'at all'
    - I can't do it any quicker.
  • as an adverb with 'more' to mean 'any longer'
    - Alice doesn't live here any more.
For an overview of pronouns and determiners, you can look at my post here.

Some and any or a(n) and one

Remember that we usually use some and any for uncountable and plural nouns, and a(n) and one for single countable nouns.
  • Uncountable:
    Do you have any butter? - Yes, there's some (butter) in the fridge.
  • Countable plural:
    Do you have any eggs? - Yes, there are some (eggs) on the counter.
  • Countable singular:
    Do you have an omelette pan? - Yes, there's one (an omelette pan) in the rack.

The "jakiś problem"

There's a determiner in Polish - jakiś (and its variations). If you look it up in a dictionary it will probably tell you it means some or any. But there's a problem: it is used for singular countable nouns as well as plurals and uncountable nouns, whereas in English we usually use a(n) with singular countable nouns. So I often hear things from students like:
  • I'll see if there's any conference room available.
  • Last night we went to some nightclub.
We'd use the indefinite article a(n) instead of any here, and usually use a(n) instead of some. But the Polish language doesn't have articles, so they sometimes use jakiś when a person or thing is not identified. I don't know whether this is something specific to Polish, or whether other languages have a similar word.
There's no problem with understanding, but there could be one with the use of some.

Some to mean 'I don't know who or what'.

Sometimes we use some with a singular noun simply to mean we don't know who or what (often following the noun with 'or other')
  • She works for some insurance company or other in the City.
  • There must be some mistake, surely?
  • I read about it in some book or other. I can't remember which.

Some to mean 'I'm not interested in it / them' or 'I don't think much of it / them'

The trouble is that with singular countable nouns we sometimes 'load' some with extra meaning:
  • We went to a party last night. (neutral, matter of fact)
  • We went to some party last night. (I don't know whose party it was, and perhaps I don't really care; perhaps it wasn't much fun)
  • There's a man to see you. (neutral, matter of fact)
  • There's some man to see you. (I don't know who he is, and perhaps I think he's a bit strange)
So unless you really want to give this extra meaning, it's better to stick to the indefinite article a(n), rather than some or any, with singular countable nouns.

Exercise 3 - Complete the sentences with words from the box

some   ·   any   ·   a
1.I've got friend who knows all about computers.
2.She's got friends in high places.
3.He's got interesting information.
4.I think there was fax with the information you wanted.
5.Do you know if there are rooms free?
6.Is there room where we could talk in private?
7.Haven't they got coffee machine we could use.
8.We haven't got coffee.

Exclamations with some

Look at these sentences:
  • That was some party last night!
  • You just watched and did nothing. Some friend you turned out to be!
  • That's some bike you've got there!
  • He knows even less about computers than I do. Some expert he is.
We use some here to express enthusiasm, ironic criticism or some other emotional response. One of the most famous examples of this was in a speech Winston Churchill, at the time the British prime minister, made to the Canadian Parliament in 1941:
When I warned them (the French) that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their prime minister and his divided cabinet, 'In three weeks England would have her neck wrung like a chicken.'

Some chicken! Some neck!

Winston Churchill speaking to the Canadian Parliament 30 December 1941
You can see a short extract of the speech, including this part, on YouTube.

Somebody, something, somewhere etc

We use these in much the same way as some, any and none
Note that:
  • Somebody, anyone, everything, nothing etc are indefinite pronouns
  • Somewhere, anywhere, nowhere are indefinite adverbs

Exercise 4 - Complete the sentences with the words from the box. Each one is used once.

something   ·   anybody   ·   nothing   ·   everything   ·   everywhere   ·   somewhere   ·   somebody   ·   anything   ·   anywhere   ·   nowhere   ·   nobody   ·   everybody
1.Is that at the door. I thought I heard the doorbell.
2.Oh no! There's absolutely to park the car.
3.Isn't there else who could work this weekend?
4.Weren't you trying to tell me important a minute ago?
5.We've done we could for that boy, and look how he treats us.
6.We should go to Asia this year. We've been in Europe.
7.Do you know nice to eat round here?
8.There's else who can make Bolognese quite like you.
9.There's much on TV tonight; let's go out.
10.Let's go quiet this weekend, perhaps in the country.
11.He gets a day off and else has to work late. It's not fair.
12.Isn't there else to watch apart from this rubbish?
Note that these words take a singular verb, and can be followed by:
  • an adjective
    - We want to go somewhere hot.
  • an adverbial expression
    - He does something in the City. Insurance or something.
  • a clause
    - Everybody (who / that) we asked thought the same as we did.
  • the word else
    - Will there be anything else?
  • the word much in informal English after any- and no-
    - We didn't do anything much, just sat by the pool all day.

Someone, anyone, everyone and no one

Someone, anyone and everyone mean just the same as somebody, anybody and everybody
Note that no one, which means the same as nobody, is split into two words. See also the note below about no one and none.
It would seem that the forms with -one are used more often, especially in writing, and that the forms with -body are more informal.

Somebody etc and singular they

After someone (somebody), anyone (anybody), no one (nobody) and everyone (everybody) etc., although we use a singular verb, we often use they / them / their.

Exercise 5 - Complete the sentences with the words and exp[ressions from the box.

themselves   ·   they'll   ·   them   ·   they've
they'd   ·   they   ·   they're   ·   their
1.If any of the guests wants another coffee, just let help .
2.Somebody must have forgotten to sign name; left the box blank.
3.If anyone was vegetarian, have told us earlier, wouldn't ?
4.Somebody must have been in here. Look, left muddy footprints everywhere.
5.Has everybody checked into respective hotels?
6.If anyone sees any member of the public acting suspiciously, should report to immediate superior.
7.Each member is responsible for making sure properly registered.
8.Nobody should think that indispensable. If do, better change attitude, fast.
9.Every government minister has own car and driver.
10.If anybody should pass target by more than 10% this year, get an extra bonus.
Usage note - There are a few people who don't like this, but it has been used in English for centuries, including by some of the best writers, such as Jane Austen. It is also taught in just about every EFL book I've seen.
I've already written about the discussion surrounding Singular they here. You can see some literary examples in this entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (look at the section headed 'notional agreement')

Anyone and any one, everyone and every one

Careful with anyone and any one, they mean two different things:
  • Does anyone want to come to the shops with me? = anybody
  • Can you bring me a towel, please. Any one will do. = it doesn't matter which.
There is a similar difference with everyone and every one:
  • Everyone had a really good time. = everybody
  • Good girl, she's eaten every one of her peas. = all of them.
Note these common expressions:
  • Any old one will do.
  • She's eaten every single one.

Any and either, none and neither

With plurals of countable nouns, we use any and none when we are talking about more than two things. For two things we use either and neither.
  • What flavour ice-cream do you want? - Any, I don't mind.
  • What flavour ice-cream do you want, chocolate or vanilla? - Either, I don't mind.
  • Which of your (four) brothers is older than you? - None, I'm the eldest.
  • Which of your (two) brothers is older than you? - Neither, I'm the eldest.

No one and none - singular or plural?

Look at these three sentences
  • No one tells me what to do!
  • Luckily none of the furniture was damaged in the flood.
  • None of my friends smoke.

The principle

  • No one, like nobody, always takes a singular verb.
  • When it refers to an uncountable noun, none also takes a singular verb.
  • But with a plural countable noun, none can take a singular or plural verb.
Swan (Practical English Usage) considers the use of the singular with plural nouns more formal. And as we use none to mean more than one here, the plural seems more natural to me.

The (false) problem - a short discussion

Some people think that none has something to do with one, and so should only be used with a singular verb. But in fact none comes from a different word in Old English, which could also be used in the plural. Nearly every style guide now recognises this, even the usually strict Strunk and White. Previously they had condemned using a plural verb with none, but having changed their position they said, contritely:
None are as fallible as those who are sure they are right.
This was amply illustrated by a 1917 editorial in the newspaper The Cornwallis Gazette-Times, which took its rival The Oregonian to task for saying, apparently in reply to a reader, that none usually takes a plural verb, and that either singular or plural is correct. The Cornwallis Gazette-Times disagreed and commented, unwittingly breaking their own rule:
There have been many questions of grammar asked the Oregonian, and none of them have been answered correctly.
These snippets come from a very detailed discussion at Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (MWDEU)
Incidentally this Ngram graph seems to bear out what MWDEU are saying, which is that the insistence by some on the use of a singular verb with none (the red and yellow lines) is relatively recent. And it seems as though good sense is prevailing once again.

Making negatives from some etc

When some etc is the subject

We replace some etc. with no, none etc (or possibly reformulate the sentence)
  • Some of the milk is off.
  • None of the milk is off.
  • Some cars are allowed to park here, for example, residents' cars.
  • No cars are allowed to park here.
  • Somebody's at the door. I thought I heard the doorbell.
  • Nobody's at the door. You're imagining things.

When some etc is the object or comes later in the sentence or clause.

We use a negative verb with any etc.
  • Do you want milk in your coffee? I put some in the fridge.
  • Oh, I forgot. I didn't put any in the fridge. It's still in the shopping bag.
  • They bought some bananas.
  • They didn't buy any bananas.
  • I saw something moving in the bushes.
  • I didn't see anything moving in the bushes.

When some etc comes after there is / are.

We can use There isn't/aren't with any etc., or There is/are no etc. When we use There is/are no etc, we usually follow up with a second thought.
  • There's some sugar in the cupboard
  • There isn't any sugar in the cupboard.
  • There's no sugar in the cupboard, shall I go and buy some.
  • There's somebody at the door.
  • There isn't anybody at the door.
  • There's nobody at the door. You're imagining things.

Question tags

  • With somebody etc, we usually use they.
    - Nobody's seen my book, have they?
    - Everybody's going to the party, aren't they?
  • With something etc, we use it.
    - Something's bothering you, isn't it?
    - Nothing will go wrong, will it?

Expressions with time

Exercise 6 - Complete the sentences with words from the box.

any time   ·   no time   ·   sometimes   ·   anytime   ·   every time   ·   some time   ·   sometime
1.Come up and see me . (Mae West)
2.There's to lose, the train leaves in an hour and we have to get to the station.
3.Come round this Saturday. We'll be in all day.
4.Its always the same; we go to the beach you forget something.
5.We usually go by car, but we go by bus
6.The mountains or the seaside? Give me the mountains .
7.At did we say that we were getting you an iPad for Christmas!
8.Do you think it will be ready soon? (US)
9.I'm ready to go you are.
10.There's before the train, we can relax a bit.

Common phrases and idioms with some, any and none.

Exercise 7 - Complete the sentences with words from the box.

other   ·   like   ·   lose   ·   having   ·   less   ·   then   ·   chance   ·   if   ·   point   ·   getting   ·   old   ·   moment
1.Few, any, of the people he asked wanted to talk about the matter.
2.We don't seem to be anywhere with this discussion.
3.Tell your boss you were held up in traffic or something. Any excuse should do.
4.I know she was rude to you, none the , you shouldn't have said that to her.
5.She should be arriving any now.
6.He was travelling at 100 mph, and some.
7.There were something forty people there.
8.And there she was, none than the Queen herself.
9.I don't suppose you could lend me £5, by any .
10.One goal to their six. Ah well, you win some, you some.
11.I'm not any more of this nonsense, children. Off to bed. Now!
12.There doesn't seem to be any in talking about this any more.

Exercise 8 - Complete the sentences with words from the box.

means   ·   other   ·   fast   ·   region   ·   rate   ·   kind   ·   having   ·   case   ·   wiser   ·   reason   ·   business   ·   day
1.It's going to cost somewhere in the of £100.
2.I'm a bit busy at the moment. In any , it's nearly lunch time.
3.How much I earn is none of your .
4.I'm sure we've met before, somewhere or .
5.So they've scored again, but the match isn't over yet. Not by any .
6.We seem to be going nowhere on this project. Perhaps it's time for a rethink.
7.Well, thank you for your explanation, but I'm afraid I'm still none the .
8.He doesn't seem to like me, for some or other.
9.You can say what like about leaving school at 16, young lady, but we're none of it.
10.It looks like there's some of crossroads up ahead. What does the satnav say?
11.She's coming on the 3 o'clock train. At any , I think that's what she said.
12.Some I'm going to be rich and famous. And pigs will fly.

Twenty-something etc,

When talking about age, nowadays we often describe someone as being twenty-something, forty-something etc. A twenty-something is somebody aged between twenty and thirty. This use was first made popular by the American drama series about baby boomer yuppies, thirtysomething, which was first broadcast in 1987, and was popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The word thirtysomething entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1993, as a direct result of the TV series.
The hyphenated version (as shown in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary), would seem to be taking over from the single word original

Adjectives ending in -some

There are quite a few adjectives ending in the suffix -some. In this exercise you can try using your instinct, but you might want to have a look at this website first, where they have a handy list with definitions.

Exercise 9 - complete the sentences with the adjectives in the box.

gruesome   ·   awesome   ·   irksome   ·   loathsome   ·   flavoursome   ·   frolicsome   ·   worrisome   ·   handsome   ·   lonesome   ·   cumbersome   ·   winsome   ·   wholesome   ·   cuddlesome   ·   fulsome   ·   meddlesome
1.She was given praise for the way she dealt with the incident.
2.It's such a puppy, I just want to hug it.
3.The Grand Canyon is a truly sight.
4.The young horses ran up and down the field, playing.
5.He has the habit of always finishing people's sentences.
6.This old oak table is a bit ; it needs four people to move it.
7.She has a really smile. It's very attractive.
8.He's an absolutely individual. I really hate him.
9.He's been a bit since he split up with his girlfriend.
10.She leads a very lifestyle: lots of exercise and a healthy diet.
11.It was a particularly film, with blood everywhere.
12.He's so ; he never minds his own business.
13.One thing about 'Death by Chocolate'; it may be filling, but it's really .
14.He's a rather young man. In a certain light that is.
15.It's a bit that we have to finish this tomorrow, and we've hardly started.

References

Related posts

Grammar - pronouns and determiners

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