Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    869
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default singular or plural noun

    We can use any in a positive sentence to mean “it doesn’t matter which”

    e.g Any student will be able to tell you where the college library is.

    I was wondering if it is natural to use “students” in the above sentence? If yes, is there a difference between “student” and “students” ?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    charliedeut's Avatar
    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    5,421
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    IMO, no. You would normally ask one student at a time, not many.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. #3
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    869
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    1. Any student who wishes to learn will have to study.
    2. Any students who wish to learn will have to study.

    Which of the above sentences is more natural? Thanks for your help.


  4. #4
    billmcd is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,505
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    1. Any student who wishes to learn will have to study.
    2. Any students who wish to learn will have to study.

    Which of the above sentences is more natural? Thanks for your help.

    I think that "any" can be used with the plural, "students", but I don't like your example without more context. To explain, in your #1 the statement is suggesting that any one student of the entire group who wishes to learn etc., which could be more than one. Using "any students", the phrase could be used to make a distinction between two or among several groups within one larger group. For example, "Next week is our annual class trip. Any students ("student" could be used too) who will be traveling by car with your parents must notify the Principal's office by Friday".

    P.S. In my preceding example the use of "students" might indicate that the teacher knows from experience that there will be more than one student and so he/she simply uses the plural form. This is a very subtle difference and, in fact, I don't think anyone listening is going to notice a difference between use of the singular or plural form.
    Last edited by billmcd; 09-Jul-2013 at 19:25.

  5. #5
    tzfujimino's Avatar
    tzfujimino is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,795
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    1. Any student who wishes to learn will have to study.
    2. Any students who wish to learn will have to study.

    Which of the above sentences is more natural? Thanks for your help.

    Hello, Winwin.

    I'd go for #1.

    The "any" you are interested in is used with singular countable nouns.
    Please see definiton #2 here: any - Definition and pronunciation | Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com
    and more examples here: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

    However, I've found these:
    250 sentence examples using 'any students who'
    226 sentence examples using 'any student who'

    So, what I've found is that I'm confused as well.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,667
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    Quote Originally Posted by Winwin2011 View Post
    1. Any student who wishes to learn will have to study.
    2. Any students who wish to learn will have to study.

    Which of the above sentences is more natural? Thanks for your help.

    You can say either of those. Since the natural scenario would be that many students would wish to learn, I'd use "Any students" - if I had to choose one. I'd actually say, "Students who wish to learn will have to study" if I felt a need to say that.
    If it is something that maybe no one would want to do, you could use "Any student" - "Any student who wishes to stay behind to help me tidy the classroom, please let me know."
    But that's just my preference.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    23,301
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    They're both absolutely fine and I don't have a preference in that particular context. I'm trying to think of examples where I would prefer one over the other ... OK, here we go.

    a) Any student who misbehaves will be sent out of the classroom immediately.
    b) Any students who missed my last class will be able to catch up with what they missed next Tuesday during their lunchbreak.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  8. #8
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    869
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: singular or plural noun

    [1] You can take any book you want. (Does it mean you can take just one book?)
    [2] You can take any books you want. (Does it mean you can take as many books as you want?)


    Thanks.




Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 23-Feb-2013, 17:05
  2. [Grammar] Any + singular/plural noun
    By Snappy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-Jul-2010, 18:36
  3. Use of singular or plural noun after 'any'
    By edmondng in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 29-Dec-2008, 01:20
  4. Singular or Plural Noun
    By iamwkk in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-Aug-2008, 17:45
  5. their/our + singular/plural noun
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 13-Oct-2003, 14:31

Posting Permissions

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