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What's the difference between the following sentences?

1 There was a woman waiting for you.

2 There was some woman waiting for you.

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"Some woman" is a disrespectful way of referring to an unknown woman, and may suggest that the speaker disliked or mistrusted her. "A woman" means what it says.

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There was some woman waiting for you

This usually implies disrespect or disapproval.

Example

Wife: When I got home today there was some woman waiting for you.

Husband: Really? What did she want?

Wife: I didn't ask. I told her if it was urgent she should phone you.

Note that the wife in this scenario is probably angry/jealous in this situation. She is depersonalizing the woman.


Cross-posted with @Michael Harvey

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  • 'Some....' means "some unknown" anything. It emphasizes that the anything is unknown. We are into idiom and colloquialisms with other interpretations of "some." Consider "She is some woman!" Depending on tone of voice, it can means she's fantastic or difficult. – user8356 May 19 at 14:38
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While the two sentences theoretically mean the same thing, only the first is neutral in tone. The phrase "some woman" in the second sentence has a derogatory sense about it, as if the woman is unsuitable company for the hearer. However "some woman" may also be admiring, more likely as "that was some woman waiting for you". The sentences could be used of the same woman if, for example, the first was spoken by an ex-fiancee and the second was a male friend.

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  • There is a difference in tonal emphasis when 'some' is spoken in those ways, and, even now, using 'some' to denote awe-inspiring qualities is something of an Americanism for English speakers outside that zone. – Michael Harvey Sep 2 '20 at 16:52
  • There was some woman waiting for you. Was she a drunk or a beggar or worse? That was some woman waiting for you. She was unusually attractive or notable in some way. – Michael Harvey Sep 2 '20 at 16:54

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