Anything vs. Something in English Grammar

What Is Their Difference?

In this part, we are going to discuss the meanings and uses of 'something' and 'anything'. We will look at their similarities and differences.

Anything vs. Something

'Anything' and 'Something' are generally used as pronouns. In other words, they replace a noun.
'Something' refers to a specific ineffective or uncertain thing.

'Anything' can refer to whatever thing no matter what it is. It's usually used in negative sentences.

'Something' is used more often in positive sentences, while 'anything' is often used in negative sentences.
But in interrogative sentences, they both can be used with a slight subtle change in meaning. When asking a question with 'something', the speaker usually expects a positive answer, while the one with anything expects a negative one.

Did you hear something about Kelly's boyfriend ?

Here, the speaker is somehow expecting to hear the affirmative answer.

Did you hear anything about Kelly's boyfriend ?

Here, the speaker is somehow expecting to hear the negative answer.

Look at some more examples. Compare the use of 'anything' and 'something' in these sentences:

Did he get you something / anything for your birthday ?

Is there something / anything I can for you , ma'am ?

'Something' can also be used as a noun. It means a person or a thing of importance or effect.

That kid is really something ! He's gonna become somebody !

In the English language, 'anything' is used when we are not sure if the thing we are talking about actually exists.

Is there anything left to eat ?

So, basically, when you don't care what a thing is, you can use 'anything'.

Do we have anything to drink ?

The speaker is saying they can drink tea, coffee, water, anything at all. It doesn't matter what.

'Let's listen to some music . ' 'You can listen to anything you want' .

  • linkedin
  • linkedin
  • facebook
  • facebook
  • email

You might also like

What Is Their Difference?

What is the difference in meaning when we add the adverb 'else' to the indefinite pronoun 'someone'? To find out the difference between the two, read this part!

Read more

What Is the Difference between 'Anything' and 'Everything'?

'Anything' and 'everything' are both pronouns that are used to refer to something. They have fairly similar spelling and structure, but what's their difference?

Read more

Is There a Difference?

Are 'anything' and 'any thing' both acceptable words in standard English? If yes, are they interchangeable? If no, which one is correct?

Read more

The Difference between 'Anything' and 'Nothing'

'Nothing' and 'anything' are two indefinite pronouns that have similar meanings. But they are used differently in a sentence. Let's check these two out!

Read more

What Is Their Difference?

'Anything' and 'anyone' are two indefinite pronouns that have somehow similar spelling but they refer to different things. Let's see their differences.

Read more

The Difference between 'Anything' and 'Anything Else'

What is the difference between 'anything' and 'anything else'? Do they have the same meaning? Let's see their similarities and differences.

Read more