The words some and any are used when the speaker cannot specify or does not need/want to specify a number or an exact amount. Compare the following sentences:
- I saw seven deer when riding my bike in the forest yesterday. (It is important that you know how many deer I saw.) - I saw some deer when riding my bike in the forest yesterday. (I don't know exactly how many deer I saw. Or: It is not important that you know exactly how many deer I saw.)
The "rules" that follow apply also to words containing some and any: somebody/anybody, something/anything, etc.
In general, some is used in positive sentences:
I got some nice presents for Christmas this year.
This job is going to take some time.
Look! There are some large black birds on the roof of the church.
You have some butter on your chin.
If you are hungry, there are some biscuits in the cupboard.
I'm sure I'll return to Japan some day.
There is somebody on the phone for you.
I'd like to go somewhere hot this summer.
In general, any is used in negative sentences and questions:
I didn't get any nice presents for Christmas this year.
I looked in the cupboard but I couldn't find any biscuits.
I don't need any help.
She's so rude. No wonder she doesn't have any friends.
I don't have anything to wear to the dance.
I'm not hungry. I don't want anything to eat.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Did you catch any fish?
Have you seen any good films recently?
Does anyone know the answer?
Are you going anywhere this Christmas?
In fact, the use of some/any is a little more complicated. Following are two common occasions when the above "rules" are "broken":
1. We can use some in questions when offering/requesting:
Would you like some more tea?
Could I have some milk, please?
Do you want something to eat?
2. We use any in positive sentences when we mean it doesn't matter which ..:
You can come and ask for my help any time.
Which book shall I read? - Any one. It's up to you.