Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Usage of 'any'

  1. #1
    sky3120's Avatar
    sky3120 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    428
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Usage of 'any'

    Happy New Year To You and Me

    I hope that I will ask less English questions from now on.

    1) Any child can do it.

    2) Any children can do it.

    I think #1 is correct and any child implies every child. Is #2 never possible or they mean difference between them?


    3) Buy any book you want.

    4) Buy any books you want.

    I think both are correct and #3 implies that I am allowed to buy only one book.


    4) Do you have any sister?

    5) Do you have any sisters?

    I think that both are okay and #4 implies "Do you have one sister?" and #5 implies "Do you have a few sisters?


    So what I would like to know is if usage of any is different in each sentence? Thank you so much as always and have a good and safe day.
    Last edited by sky3120; 02-Jan-2013 at 02:36.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,556
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Usage of 'any'

    Quote Originally Posted by sky3120 View Post
    Happy New Year To You and Me

    I hope that I will ask less English questions from now on. An odd wish - good questions are part of good learning. Of course, there are times when you can answer your own questions. Incidentally, you'll raise fewer hackles if you observe the rule about less and fewer -on which the purists, I fear, are fighting a losing battle. Supermarkets will never put up signs saying '6 items or fewer', regardless of the 'disgusted' letters sent to the Daily Telegraph!

    1) Any child can do it.

    2) Any children can do it.

    I think #1 is correct and any child implies every child. Is #2 never possible or they mean difference between them? I wouldn't say never - a chef might say 'Add the shrimps (fresh, if possible, but any shrimps will do - tinned or frozen...)'. But in that context the plural is wrong.


    3) Buy any book you want.

    4) Buy any books you want.

    I think both are correct and #3 implies that I am allowed to buy only one book.


    4) Do you have any sister? It might rarely fit in a situation involving half-sisters and step-sisters, or with lots of paralinguistic stuff (gestures and pauses, intonation and so on), making it mean 'Do you have anyone [to go to - ] a sister [perhaps]?' but 99.9% of the time it's wrong.

    5) Do you have any sisters?

    I think that both are okay and #4 implies "Do you have one sister?" (In that case the question would be 'Do you have a sister?' and #5 implies "Do you have a few sisters?


    So what I would like to know is if usage of any is different in each sentence? Thank you so much as always and have a good and safe day.
    Yes , it's different, sometimes right and sometimes wrong - and sometimes arguable. But what is true is that you can't make a general statement such as 'You can always use either the singular or the plural, but in every case the meanings will be different'. You have to consider context; you can never rely on just learning a finite set of prescriptive rules (although there are people who try to).

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 02-Jan-2013 at 12:58. Reason: Fix format

Similar Threads

  1. as usage
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 24-Apr-2010, 08:44
  2. use vs usage
    By panosgr in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-Mar-2010, 10:58
  3. not usage
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Mar-2010, 17:04
  4. [Idiom] usage
    By lenusja in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 16-Feb-2010, 16:04
  5. [Grammar] Usage
    By georgeorwell in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 13-Feb-2010, 16:39

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •