Something

The word 'something' has two functions in English grammar. We will discover its functions and more in this lesson.

Something can be the indefinite pronoun to refer to a thing we do not know, or act as an adverb to modify an adjective. To learn more, follow the lesson.

1. 'Something' as an Indefinite Pronoun

Use

Something as an indefinite pronoun is mainly used to refer to a thing that we do not know or to refer to a thing that is not important. However, it has more functions; take a look:

  • Something as an indefinite pronoun is used to refer to an unspecified, unknown thing:

I have something that I don't know well.

Something is bothering me.

  • Something can be used to indicate an unimportant thing or person in informal English:

Does he think he is something after his promotion?

That small lake is something, right?

  • Something is used to make a sentence less forceful or definite. It means 'to some degree' and is followed by 'of':

Something of a problem is in our house.

He is something of a specialist in his career.

  • Something is used in combinations to indicate an unspecified amount. In other words, an amount that is more than a specified number:

The check is fifty-something dollars.

Tip

Something can be used with 'or' to suggest another unspecified name, choice, etc. For example:

Are you angry or something?

another feeling

Do you want this book or something?

another book

Position in a Sentence

Something as an indefinite pronoun is used to act as the subject, object, subject complement, etc. If it acts as the subject, the verb must be singular.

That small lake is something, right?

Here, 'something' is the subject complement.

Something bugs me.

'Something' is the subject requiring a singular verb.

2. 'Something' as an Adverb

Use

Something as an adverb is used to modify adjectives and means 'slightly' or 'very.' Take a look:

  • Something as an adverb indicates 'somewhat or slightly':

He is something like his dad.

That was not frightening. I was something scared.

  • Something indicates emphasis and it means 'very':

My arm hurts something terrible.

I would like to sleep 24 hours because I am something tired.

Position in a Sentence

Something as an adverb is used before adjectives to modify them. For example:

I am something tired.

My arm hurts something terrible.

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