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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    never steal anyone's car

    1) I would never steal someone's car.
    2) I would never steal anyone's car.

    Is there a real difference in the meanings of these sentences?
    What is it?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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    #2

    Re: never steal anyone's car

    With normal intonation, there is no significant difference.

    With the right intonation, the second could mean either I would never even think about stealing a car, whoever it belonged to or I would not steal a car belonging to any Tom, Dick or Harry (, but I might steal the car of a rich banker).

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    #3

    Re: never steal anyone's car

    Thank you very much Piscean,

    That is a very important and a very fine point. I really appreciate it.

    Wouldn't you say that with the right intonation the 'someone' in the first one might refer to someone specific that the speaker doesn't want to name?

    I am a car thief, but I would never steal someone's car, if you know what I mean.
    -Yes. That someone will have you cut in little pieces if you ever so much as get close to his car.

    Wouldn't you say that works?
    In this case the someone in question might be a mob boss or something.


    It seems to me that this would only work in an informal context. I don't know whether 'anyone' for 'just anyone' would work in formal English or not.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

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    #4

    Re: never steal anyone's car

    Quote Originally Posted by navi tasan View Post
    Wouldn't you say that with the right intonation the 'someone' in the first one might refer to someone specific that the speaker doesn't want to name?
    Yes.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 02-Feb-2017 at 11:39. Reason: Sorry, Piscean, comma-full stop correction again! ;-)

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