Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

When it comes to determiners, English grammar can be tricky!

How do you know when to use ‘any’, ‘no’, or ‘some’?

Today, Lindsay and Aubrey break down the rules for these.

Listen in and learn how to use them so you can make better connections in English.

Pet peeves

Aubrey asks Lindsay if she has any pet peeves.

Lindsay says that her pet peeves develop over time when she’s with someone.

If a person slurps their drink really loudly, initially it wouldn’t bother her.

However, if she spends the next few days with the same person, she would definitely get annoyed.

Aubrey shares that she heard it’s best to share pet peeves about yourself.

If you share something annoying about someone else, it can seem a bit rude or impolite.

Therefore, you can share something like, “My pet peeve is when I sleep past my alarm clock.”

They are both amused by this advice because usually, a pet peeve is about someone else.

Pet peeves are related to today’s listener’s question.

Today when I was talking with my husband about his parents’ dog, I told him, “It seems that any dog wants to stay here with us.”

He corrected me, saying: “It seems that NO dog wants to stay here.”

So, I would like to know why it wasn’t correct how I said it and when I can use ‘any’, ‘some’, and ‘no.’

Marina Groth, Connected Communicator online course Facebook group

How to use ‘any’, ‘some’, and ‘no’

Today’s episode is about a tricky grammar rule.

Confusion often occurs when a speaker directly translates from their native language.

Lindsay and Aubrey will teach you how to use ‘any’, ‘some’, and ‘no.’

This will help you know which determiner to use in English conversation.

The general rule is to use ‘some’ and ‘no’ in positive sentences and ‘any’ in questions and negative sentences.

Here are examples of how to use these determiners:

#1: Any

This is an unspecified quantity.

It can refer to one, some, or all.

You can often hear this used for questions and negative sentences.


  • Do you want any fries? (Want any fries?)
  • I don’t have any more fries.

#2: Some

This is also used when the quantity is unsure.

You may refer to something that is a lot or a little.


  • I need some Z’s.
  • We are having some difficulty with this project.
  • He has some nerve!

The only exception in using ‘some’ is when you use it in a question in which you expect a positive answer.

It’s like asking a rhetorical question.


  • Would you like some chocolate?
  • Could I have some coffee, please?

#3: No

This means zero. We often use it to emphasize something.

In this manner, we vary the intonation to put more emphasis on what is being said.


  • I have no energy.
  • He has no tact.

This must only be used in positive sentences, or you end up with a double negative.

Double negatives are a common mistake in English.

If you use a double negative, it is an obvious, glaring mistake.

They are common in some regional English dialects.

An example of a double negative is, “I don’t have no energy.”

This actually means, “I have energy.”

Avoid these double negatives to not create confusion!


Lindsay and Aubrey share a roleplay to show you how these determiners are used in conversations.

In this scenario, Lindsay and Aubrey are discussing their recent reads.

  • read: verbing where we turn ‘read’ into a noun and it means a book we have read

Notice how ‘any’, ‘some’, and ‘no’ are used in this conversation.

Aubrey: Have you read any good books lately?

Lindsay: Yes, I got some recommendations from a friend and started reading one.

Aubrey: I have no time for reading lately it seems!


Grammar questions like this one are great because they highlight something tricky about English that not everyone will have noticed.

The best way to move to a high level of English is to practice and use this advice.

Now that you understand these general rules, you’ll be able to confidently know which of these determiners to use.

You can also notice determiners as you take in a lot of English.

Practice and use these determiners to make meaningful connections with friends and colleagues.

Can you give us a sample of how you’ll use the determiners shared in this episode?

We’d love to see your examples in the comment section below.

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