Tricky English Words: Anything, Something, Everything

In our Tricky Words blog posts, we explain grammar and vocabulary that our students sometimes ask us about.  This posts explains the tricky English words anything, something, and everything.

The three examples below use each of these words.

Anything Helps

This is a panhandler. He’s asking for handouts on the street. He’s not picky. He’ll accept any amount of money: $1, $5, $20— but even 50 cents. Anything helps.
Snake Eating Something

This Python has eaten some animal. Which one? I don’t know, but look at that bump! There is something inside of him for sure!
Buying Everthing

It’s Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving Day). It is the biggest shopping day in the U.S. These shoppers are greedy. They are buying everything they can. Do you think they really need everything in that they are going to buy?

So, what do each of these words mean and how are they used?

Anything means any one thing. It takes a singular verb. It is usually used in negative sentences and questions.

  • I am speechless. I don’t have anything to say. Not one thing.
  • The fridge is empty. There isn’t anything in it. Not one thing.
  • The meeting is almost finished. Does anyone (any one person) here have
    anything (any one thing) to add before we end?

Something means an unspecified or unknown thing. It is usually used in positive sentences. It also takes a singular verb.

  • I’m hungry. I want something to eat.
  • My car won’t start. Something must be wrong with it.
  • Do you hear that strange noise? Something is in the basement!

Everything means all things. It also, surprisingly, takes a singular verb!

  • I’ve finished everything I need to do today. Now I can relax.
  • I’m having a party tonight. Everything is ready. Everything looks great.

Now you try. Explain the picture using the word given. You can type your answers in the comment section below and we will help you with your English, (if you need it 🙂 )

Hands-Anything (anything)

Closet - Something (something)

Chocolate - Everything (everything)

Do you understand? Learn about some other tricky English words here:

Useful Words: Whatever, Whoever, Wherever, Whenever, However