Sometimes we want to talk about a thing, but we don’t know its name. Or we don’t know exactly what it is.
In this situation, there is one very useful word: “Something.”
“Something” is a Pronoun, which means that it is used instead of a Noun. In other words, we use it as a substitute.
If you want to know how to use it, this is our 1st formula…
#1. Something Special
Imagine that your friend’s birthday is close. And you are planning to give him or her a birthday gift.
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But you don’t know exactly what to buy. So, you ask another friend about this.
A: Hey, have you bought a birthday present for Natsu yet?
B: Yes, of course.
A: I haven’t. I don’t know what to buy. I’m not sure what she likes.
B: Well, you should buy something elegant. She likes stylish things that she can wear.
A: Should I prepare something expensive?
B: Not really. She’s not the type of person who prefers extravagant* gifts.
*extravagant = costing a lot of money
As you can see from our dialogue above, the Pronoun “Something” is very useful when we can’t say exactly what a thing is.
It’s easy. Just follow this formula:
Something + Adjective
In our situation above, you can also say: “A little something.”
I got you a little something for your birthday.
“A little something” means a small gift.
Now, let’s have another example…
If you see your friend looking very sad and serious,
you can ask him:
Is something wrong?
Other expressions you can use in this case are:
What’s the matter?
Are you upset about something?
Lastly, you can also use our formula to talk about people. Just change “Something” to “Someone.”
Someone + Adjective
Q: So, what kind of girlfriend / boyfriend are you looking for?
A: I want someone _______.
Aside from talking about inexact things, we also use “Something” to make offers.
For example, your friend has just arrived at your apartment for a visit. He or she is now sitting on your couch. It’s polite to offer something.
Would you like something to drink / eat?
Or if you’re close to your friend, you can ask in a more casual style:
Do you want something to drink / eat?
*Note: “Anything” is used inside questions more commonly than “Something.” But there are a few special cases when we don’t follow this rule. One special case is when we make an offer like our example above.
If you’d like to know more about the difference between “Something” and “Anything,” just click this link:
So, our 2nd formula is:
Something to + Verb
Something to read
Something to wear
Something to buy
Following this formula, you can make other expressions:
I have something to do.
They have something to tell us.
She has nothing to wear for the party.
Here are more examples:
I have many things to do. (=I’m busy)
I have nothing to do. (=I’m bored)
There is nothing to eat. (=I’m hungry)
I have nobody to talk to. (=I’m lonely)
#3. Something Else
“Something else” is a related expression. It means a “different one.”
For example, you are bored in your current job and you are thinking about quitting.
You can say:
I want to try something else with my life.
Or just like in #1:
I think I should look for something better.
Here’s another situation: You want to buy a used car. The salesman shows you a cheap but old one…
In this situation, you can say:
I want to see something else.
Aside from this, “Something else” has another very different meaning. In casual spoken English, you can say:
You really are something else!
His next concert will be something else.
That cave was something else.
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This means that the person or thing is funny, unusual, special, or impressive.
#4. Something or Other
The last expression that I’m going to teach you today is “Something or other.”
Like the word “Something” (alone), you can use “Something or other” when you can’t remember the name or you don’t know the exact thing.
Her boyfriend’s name is Robert something or other.
He quit his job when he got blamed for something or other.
She’s always fixing something or other in that old house.
Because “Something” is such a flexible word, there are so many other uses of it and we can’t discuss all of them in one lesson. So we’ll stop here and I’ll try to teach the rest next time.
Hope You Learned Something!