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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Something or anything?    

Something or anything?



kara305
Vietnam

Something or anything?
 
Please help me with this sentence.
 
" Can ´t you do ______________ with your family?"
 
A. something     B. anything.
 
 
and why do you choose that answer.
Thank you! 

4 May 2015      





yining
China

Can ´t you do ______________ with your family?"  anything

4 May 2015     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Either, but I think grammatically, it should be anything, which comes after a negative interrogative. The stress would be on anything. If you get really exasperated, you would then say, ´Is there nothing you can do with your family? ´ 
 
(I may be wrong...) 

4 May 2015     



Peter Hardy
Australia

As a general rule, we use SOME (-thing) in affirmative sentences and ANY (-thing) in interrogative and negative sentences, but we can use ANY (singular or plural) in affirmative sentences, "no matter which".

 

ANY (anything) in affirmatives sentences:

  • You can take any book you like.  (You can take one book, no matter which one)

  • You can take any books you like.  (You can take more than one book, no matter which ones)

  • That exercise is very easy.  Any child here could answer that.  (This boy or that girl, it doesn ´t matter who you choose, they all know the answer)

  • You don ´t need to go there at the weekend.  You can go any day you want.  It ´s always open.

     

    ANY in conditional sentences

    We usually use ANY after "if" even in affirmative sentences (but SOME may also be possible)

  • If you see anything strange, tell me

  • If you like any of these books, you can borrow it.

Cheers, Peter

4 May 2015     



joannajs
Poland

The answer would depend on how unbearable your family is :-D
 
"Can you do something with my family?" would suggest a lesser problem, as some in questions can be used if you are expecting a positive answer (e.g. Can you give me something to drink?)
 
"Can you do anything with my family?" is an indication for me that a situation is really grave (Adams family???) and it ´s hard to do anything really.
 
 
Also, as my learned colleagues already suggested, if it ´s an elementary level - I ´d rather go for "anything" as it follows the rule of "any-" for questions and negations". The higher the level - B1/2 and up - the more options.
 
best,
 
joanna 

4 May 2015     



annedavid
France

I would use both, depending on the situation, eg:
 
I would say, "Can ´t you do something with your family?" to someone who didn ´t know what to do at the weekend.
 
I would say, "Can ´t you do anything with you family?" to someone who complained that they didn ´t get on with their family.
 
Hope that helps,
 
Anne

4 May 2015     



yanogator
United States

Yes, wither choice as some have said, for the reasons Anne gave very clearly. I also agree that if it is an elementary class, "anything" is the better choice.

Bruce
 

4 May 2015     



kwsp
United States

Here in Iowa if someone asks, "Can ´t you do something with your family?" to a parent or parents it means, "Can ´t you make your children behave?" If asked by a teenager to another teenager it means, "Can ´t you find some way to get your parents to let you do what you want to do?" It can also mean, "Isn ´t there something you can do to make your family members be more agreeable in this adverse situation?"
 
"Isn ´t there anything you can do with your family?" might be a parent speaking to their rebellious teen, "Can ´t you find ANYTHING you enjoy doing with your family?"   
 

4 May 2015     



kara305
Vietnam

Thank you very much for your answers.
 I
Kara 

5 May 2015