Can anyone explain the difference between: "Can anyone answer me " and "Can someone answer me " ?


1 Answer 1


"Any" and "Some" can be called as "prefixes and determiners of quantity", by that I mean they can be used in expressions such as - anyone, anybody, somebody, something, anything, anywhere, somewhere, etc.

With that being said, "any" is mainly used in interrogative and negative [that is lacking affirmative meaning] sentences "where you do not expect any quantity". for instance:

Can anyone tell me what is going on here? (= If there is only one, tell me - referring to an unspecified amount)

Can somebody tell me what is going on here? (= I expect to be told what is going on here, or there is probably some person who can tell me that )

Non-affirmative sentence example:

Nobody was in the room. ( the room was empty. ) whereas

Somebody was not in the room. ( there was some [unspecified] person who was not in the room )

Moreover, "any" is mostly used along with adverbs which emphasize quantity such as - hardly, barely, scarcely, never, seldom, rarely - and, also, some negative verbs (fail, forbid, prohibit, prevent) and adjectives (unlikely, unable, impossible, etc.).

Because of the characteristics mentioned above, words associated with "any" take place in inversion as well. e.g.

Hardly had anyone seen her before her leaving.

I hope I provided useful information on this particular topic.

  • "hardly had anyone seen her" is awkward. Hardly anyone had seen her before she left.
    – Lambie
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 14:38

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