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A while ago I learned that some was 些 or 一些, but now I've also learned that there is another way to say some, 有的. My teacher didn't go into the difference in class and I forgot to ask her afterwards. Is there a difference in meaning and/or usage or are they totally synonymous?

Thanks in advance, William

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    Always use "一些" if you're not sure, because as user2550062 has mentioned, under some circumstances "有的" is wrong – my rough observation is 有的 cannot describe the object of a sentence. For example, 一些 in these sentences cannot be replaced by 有的: "他给了我一些好处", "这是一些书". Other cases acceptable for using 有的: "我们必须考虑有的人不愿买房"(有的人 here is the subject of the object clause), "(在)有的情况下你需要保持冷静" (有的 in a prepositional phrase). – Stan Nov 13 '15 at 4:55
  • The comment is better than the answers themselves! – Enrico Brasil Nov 15 '15 at 17:45
  • just a reminder that the role of 有 as dummy verb needed to put a noun of indefinite reference in front of the verb (as subject) has only recently been discussed (see Does an existential sentence with “有” only carry a non-specific noun?) – user6065 Nov 15 '15 at 23:45
  • I'm too a native Mandarin speaker and I think Hankofficer's explanation is pretty good. – SuKong Nov 24 '15 at 2:04
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The main grammatical difference, which hints to the usage difference, is that 些 is indeed a classifier.

This implies 些 gets involved when you're counting stuff. Now you say: but 些 is supposed to mean "some", I'm not really counting anything! Well nevertheless you are, even though you are not expressing a precise quantity.

Now, let's add a piece to the puzzle. As you may know, classifiers in chinese are also used to determine a noun, i.e. they replace the determinative article in English. That's why 那个苹果 can be translated as "that apple" but also "the apple", that one apple we talked about earlier in the conversation.

Our 些 in turn carries the same semantic value.

一些苹果 some apples

那些苹果 these apples / the apples

Therefore 些 is used when you're talking about a narrow topic, something circumscribed to a pool of common knowledge between you and your interlocutors. Whereas 有 means "there is" and 有的expresses a general existential trait, as in 有的人喜欢吃苹果 = "there are people who like to eat apples" = "some people like to eat apples".

Tl;dr

些 particular, unspecified but possibly finite number

有的 general

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有的 has the meaning "there exists (something)", while 一些/些 can means "some" or "a number of". Two words can be swap each other at begin of a clause or a sentence.

(有的/一些)人喜歡蘋果。 Some people like apples.
我發現(有的/一些)人喜歡吃蘋果。 I found that some people like to eat apples.
我吃了(一些/些)蘋果。 I ate some apples.
我看到在馬路上有(一些)重機車。 I saw some motorcycles on the road.

It's common to say 有些/有一些 too, and able to replace 有的, but not 一些.

(有些)人喜歡蘋果。 Some people like apples.

幾 can be used to express "some" too, and it can replace 一些 but you need to add classifier after 幾.

我找了(幾本/些)書來看。 I found some books to read.

I'm native Mandarin speaker so I hope it's helpful. :)

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Your teacher is correct in saying that both mean "some." However, these have a slightly different meanings.

有的 = There are some
有些 also means There are some

Using "一些" usually comes after a verb that relates to "some [noun]".

I am buying some clothes - 我买了一些衣服
I am eating some fruit - 我吃了一些水果

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  • "一些" means some (a number of)
  • "有的" means some of

so you see the difference:

  • some students "一些学生"
  • some of the students "有的学生"

"一些" focus on this part

"有的" also pays attention to others

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一些 usually used when you try to say something relate to number, but you don't want to say a certain number. e.g.

我买了一些蔬菜  I bought some vegetables. 

Use 有的 here is wrong.

My answer about 有的 is inaccurate, please reference Txv's Answer

Usage of 有的 the same as some in English. e.g.

有的人 = some people
有的动物 = some animals

There is another word which combines 些 and 有的, which is 有些, the usage is the same as 有的 in some situation. Like below comments shows, sometimes 有些 and 有的 not the same.

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    regarding 有的 and 有些 (same?) cf。"实用汉语近义虚词词典"有的(代)/有些(代;副;动)**[相同]**都是代词,指代人或事物中的一部分,作主语或定语,有时可以互换:1今天来的客人,有的喜欢中餐,有的喜欢西餐。(有些✓)2前几天买回来的香蕉,有的已经坏了(有些✓)3周末,有些人喜欢去公园,有些人喜欢逛商店。(有的✓)4早上下大雨,有些同学上课迟到了。(有的✓)**[不同]**1。"有的"可以指复数,也可以指单数:"有些"只能指复数。在明确表示单数的时候只能用"有的":1英语老师给我们每个人都起了英文名字:有的叫Billy,有的叫John。(有些×)2这几个留学生的汉语名字很奇怪,有的叫孙悟空,有的叫李白。(有些×)3暑假里我们班的同学有的去西安,有的去桂林。(有的✓)2。"有的"作主语时,谓语可以是动词短语,也可以是单个的形容或心理动词;"有些"作主语时,谓语通常是动词短语,不能是单个的形容词或心理动词:1我的这些朋友兴趣爱好都不一样,有些喜欢运动,有些喜欢安静。(有的✓)2这些客人,有些是我们的亲戚,有些是我们的同事。(有的✓)3草地上的华,有的红,有的白,非常好看。(有些×)4听到这个消息,同学们有的高兴,有的难过。(有些×) – user6065 Nov 15 '15 at 12:11
  • 3。"有些"还是副词,可以作状语,表示程度不高,多修饰消极意义的心理动词或形容词:1等了这么久,林晴还没来,王永强心里有些着急了。(有的×)2我今天有些不舒服,想早点回来休息。(有的×)3孩子一个人出门,母亲有些放心不下。(有的×)4我觉得,跟人一起租房子住还是有些不方便。(有的×)4。"有些"还是"动+量"短语,相当于"有一些",可以带宾语:"有的"没有这样的用法:1我这儿有些钱,你先拿去用吧。(有的×)2他还有些事情没办完,先走了。(有的×) – user6065 Nov 15 '15 at 12:12
  • So for example "我买了一些苹果。有的苹果是红色,有的是绿色。"? – William Nov 18 '15 at 17:35
  • OK, in "我今天有些不舒服,‌​想早点回来休息。", 有些 is different to 有的. But there is a difference between this "有些" and “有些” in my example. This one, in fact, it's a short for "有一些", it means "have some" in English. – thinwa Nov 19 '15 at 5:02
  • @William your example is perfectly right! – thinwa Nov 19 '15 at 5:06

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