I'd like to know whether or not I should use "some" whenever I am talking about something which is a plural noun. For example, should I say

"I saw some people and some cars" or "I saw people and cars"?

And what is the meaning of this sentence?

You're in good hands with him here.


3 Answers 3


Regarding the first question, the first example emphasizes the ambiguity of the amount, as well as the separateness of the two different groups. The second example implies an indeterminate amount without emphasizing the groupings. The word "some" would be contrasted with "a few" or "a lot". Incidentally, one could also phrase the second example as "I saw some people and cars."

The word "some" (and "a lot" or "a few", "many", etc.) are quantifiers. It may be used with both countable nouns (nouns that may be individual counted, such as cars, people, trees, etc.) and non-countable nouns (such as experience, wisdom, light). The phrase, "I have some experience and some wisdom," would emphasize the vagueness of two different non-countable nouns, and presumably differentiate between them (experience and wisdom being separate). In the example "some people and some cars" would also presumably emphasize that one was not emphasizing people in the cars. "Some people and cars" would emphasize the fact that not a lot but more than a few people and cars (and people in cars) were seen.

Regarding the second question, "in good hands" indicates an individual is safe or cared for. As a commercial example, consider is the Allstate logo of the hands indicating care.

The "with him" indicates an individual, and the slightly awkward appending of "here" indicates the "him" is present in the immediate locale.

Consider the phrase, "With John here you are safe"; substitute "John" with "him" and "you are safe" with "you're in good hands", and the sentence is equivalent. "With him here you're in good hands."

  1. The sentence makes sense without the "some" but it generally sounds more natural to include it. If you are listing multiple plural nouns, you only need to include "some" once:

I saw some people and cars.

  1. "You're in good hands" is an idiom that means the subject is safe and will be taken care of.

The difference in the two versions of the first sentence is fairly subtle - the first version indicates that a number of people and cars were seen, but not a large amount of either ("some" is larger than "a few" and less than "many" or "a lot"). This usage allows you to be vague as to exact numbers but to indicate a general quantity. The second version simply notes that, of the things you saw, there were people and cars; so more than one of each (because the sentence uses the plural), but no indication of the quantity at all.

In your second sentence, the phrase "with him here" is equivalent to "given that it is the case that he is here".

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