Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 68
    #1

    What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Let's suppose you've just moved in a new town and don't know anything about neighborhood yet.
    You've decide to ask if there is any post office and talked to a passer-by.

    1. Is there any post office around here?
    2. Is there a post office around here?

    What is the difference between the first one and the second one?
    I'd like to know even a little bitty difference.

    Thank you in advance.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #2

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Number 2 is correct. Number 1 is not.

  2. teechar's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 6,217
    #3

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    Let's suppose you've just moved in to a new town, and you don't know anything about your/the neighborhood yet.
    You've decide You want to know ask if there is any a post office nearby, and talked to so you ask a passer-by:

    1. Is there any post office around here?
    2. Is there a post office around here?

    What is the difference between the two first one and the second one?
    I'd like to know even if there's a little bitty difference.

    Thank you in advance.
    See Mike's answer.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 68
    #4

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Number 2 is correct. Number 1 is not.
    Thank you for explaining.
    Why is No. 1 incorrect?
    I've learned that you can use singular nouns after "any" as well as plural nouns after "any."
    Is usage of any + singer noun rare?

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #5

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    My objection was based on usage. The new arrivals were looking for "a" post office, presumably the closest, not "any" post office.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 68
    #6

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Thank you for explaining.
    Then, is “are there any post offices?” inappropriate in this situation?
    That’s because they are looking for one post office.
    Is that it?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 68
    #7

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Thank you for correcting my English.

  4. teechar's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 6,217
    #8

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    Then, is “are there any post offices?” inappropriate in this situation?
    It sounds unnatural because most suburbs/neighbourhoods do not usually have a whole bunch of post offices in them!


  5. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,221
    #9

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    I think that's the main point.
    In a house, you might expect to find more than one banana.
    Do you have any bananas? (Even if you only want one.)
    But you expect only one post office.

    Now, let's say you're looking for a box to post your letter. That's something that a neighborhood might have more than one of.

    Where is the nearest mailbox?
    Are there any mailboxes near here?
    Is there a mailbox in this neighborhood?
    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.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 68
    #10

    Re: What is the difference between a and any? a post office or any post office?

    Thank you for explaining, but I’m still confused.

    Don’t you come up with “Is there any mailbox in this neighborhood?” in any situations?
    Should I use “Is there a mailbox?” with the same reason that you presumably think of the closest mailbox?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Where is the post office near here?
    By Michaelleng in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-Apr-2013, 07:46
  2. in a/the post office
    By Collapse in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 13-Aug-2011, 19:12
  3. stay in/at the post office
    By sitifan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Oct-2010, 03:41
  4. [General] post office
    By meela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2010, 20:21
  5. Can/Could you please tell me where the post office is?
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17-Nov-2007, 02:42

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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