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    #1

    anything - nothing

    Hi,

    - ...but he couldn't hear anything.
    ... but he could hear nothing.

    I think the second sentence is more natural - does that mean that the first one is not suitable?

    Thanks,
    Joe

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    #2

    Re: anything - nothing

    Both are fine. However, I would rather use the first one. It's just a matter of custom and preferences. Either you use the first expression or the second one, it's okay!

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    #3

    Re: anything - nothing

    I'd say the second one is more common in writing.

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    #4

    Re: anything - nothing

    Mar Rojo, that's the fact - I've seen it used many times in the literature.

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    #5

    Re: anything - nothing

    And there's:

    He couldn't hear a thing.
    He could hear not one thing.

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    #6

    Re: anything - nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by joeoct View Post
    Hi,

    - ...but he couldn't hear anything.
    ... but he could hear nothing.
    I think the second sentence is more natural - does that mean that the first one is not suitable?

    Thanks,
    Joe

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Joe:


    (1) All the other posters have given us great answers.

    (2) I just wanted to say that many books agree with the Longman

    English Grammar that states:

    The two kinds of negatives have the same meaning, though no is

    generally more emphatic than not ... any.

    (3) So I guess that "He could hear nothing" is "stronger" than

    "He could not hear anything."

    (4) For example:

    Mrs. Smith: Would you like anything to drink?

    Tom (who is upset because his girlfriend has left him): No, thanks.

    Mrs. Smith: Are you sure?

    Tom: Yes. I do not want anything, thank you.

    Mrs. Smith: The tea is delicious. Can I get you a cup?

    Tom: Are you deaf!!! I said that I want nothing!!! Leave me alone.


    Sincerely,


    James

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    #7

    Re: anything - nothing

    TheParser, thanks once again.
    Maybe you are not a teacher, but your replies seem very learned.

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