In English, and many other languages, compounds are made up of two or more words combined into a single word. There are many compound words in English, ranging from the everyday to the esoteric.
Is there ever a situation where it makes sense to use the words separately? Is something or some thing more appropriate, for instance? Continue reading to learn more about these words.
What is the Difference Between Something and Some Thing?
In this post, I will compare something vs. some thing. I will use each of these terms in example sentences so that you can see them in context. I will also give you a helpful memory tool that will assist you in distinguishing between these two words.
When to Use Something
What does something mean? Something is a pronoun. Something means an unspecified object or concept. It is a common word in both spoken and written English.
Most of the time, pronouns are used in place of other nouns that have already been mentioned in a sentence, like in this example,
- George met Karen and Greg at the restaurant and told them about his day.
Here, the pronoun them stands in for the nouns Karen and Greg. It keeps the sentence from sounding boring and repetitive.
In contrast, something is not always used this way. Often, it just refers to an unspecified object. See the following sentences.
- The alley cat sniffed around behind Alan’s apartment looking for something to eat.
- “Shouldn’t you be back in your booth fabricating something?” the painter asked the welder.
- Adventurous young consumers, weaned on craft whiskey and beer, are eager to try something new. –The New York Times
Here, something doesn’t refer back to any other nouns. It simply refers to an unspecified object.
When to Use Some Thing
What does some thing mean? Some writers divide the pronoun something into two words, forming the phrase some thing. This is not an accepted variant of this word. Something is a compound, and should always be spelled as a single word.
As you can see, the two-word some thing is so infrequently used that it approached zero. Something is the correct spelling of this pronoun.
That’s not to say that there are no contexts where some and thing might appear next to each other as separate words. Some is a determiner, and thing is a noun. The phrase some thing took hold of his ankle would not feel out of place in certain 19th century horror fiction.
Today, though, a horror writer would probably include an adjective, to form some terrible thing or some unholy thing. Most people would also simply use the pronoun something.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Here’s a trick you can use to remember some thing vs. something.
In general, you should always use the single-word something when referring to an unspecified object or concept. Although there are some situations where the two-word some thing would be grammatically acceptable, something is always more familiar and will be less likely to distract your audience.
To remember that something is the correct version of this word, remember that the compounds sometime and someone are also spelled as a single word, and they fill similar functions in sentences.
Is it some thing or something? Something is a pronoun that refers to an unspecified object or person.
- Something is the correct formulation of this pronoun.
- Some thing is a misspelling of
If you every get stuck choosing some thing or something in the future, you can use this article as a refresher.