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    #1

    general rule and exception to sentence form

    In the following sentence, my professor said i have violated a general rule but that in this sentence form it meets an exception to the general rule; however, he wants to know the general rule and the exception i have used??? i am so confused and have looked everywhere. after 25 hours of research, i am frustrated. can anyone help? here is the sentence...

    The child did not have any clue what action would please the lady most.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: general rule and exception to sentence form

    Hi, and welcome to Using English.

    Usually (usually, not always!), a simple statement about not having something uses a plural. That's the general rule.

    I don't have any bananas to sell you. (Yes, we have no bananas... if you're really an old student, you can sing along.)
    I don't see any pens in the drawer where you told me to look. .
    She doesn't have any brothers or sisters.

    However, the phrase "I don't have a clue!" takes the singular - it's an idiom. You don't have any clue, do you? He just doesn't have a clue.

    So the child not having any clue, versus any clues, works.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: general rule and exception to sentence form

    How about "The child didn´t have any clue about what action.......?"

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    #4

    Re: general rule and exception to sentence form

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Hi, and welcome to Using English.

    Usually (usually, not always!), a simple statement about not having something uses a plural. That's the general rule.

    I don't have any bananas to sell you. (Yes, we have no bananas... if you're really an old student, you can sing along.)
    I don't see any pens in the drawer where you told me to look. .
    She doesn't have any brothers or sisters.

    However, the phrase "I don't have a clue!" takes the singular - it's an idiom. You don't have any clue, do you? He just doesn't have a clue.

    So the child not having any clue, versus any clues, works.
    I vaguely recall a similar issue popped up sometime last year.

    One teacher, I can't remember who, said that there's actually no practical differenct between There is no book here and There are no books here. In both cases, no one can find any books here.

    I can't help thinking if this is also the case here? Either I don't have any bananas or I don't have any banana can convey the same idea, i.e., I have none.

    Therefore, I assume by usually, not always, you don't only refer to idioms like I don't have a clue, but also mean they're both right while the plural form is much more popular. I don't get what you meant by So the child not having any clue, versus any clues, works but I assume it's just like what I said.

    Am I right in thinking so?

    Thanks

    Richard

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