Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,697
    #1

    I don't have sisters.

    a.I don't have sisters.
    b.I don't have any sisters.

    Are they both correct?
    I've asked a similar question before.
    But I still don't understand.

    Please help me.

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

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #2

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    a.I don't have sisters.
    b.I don't have any sisters.

    Are they both correct?
    I've asked a similar question before.
    But I still don't understand.

    Please help me.
    Did you ask it here? I don't want to get anyone's wires crossed! (If so, a pointer would help.)

    But yes they are; b is much the more common in most contexts, but in one like this a would be possible:

    "Do you come from a big family?"
    "Well, I don't have sisters, but I do have three brothers."

    Even here, an "any" would be likely; but it would be acceptable to omit it. (In fact, I can't think of a context where "any" wouldn't be right, so if in doubt include it.... (I think that's safe advice - could another teacher confirm this? )


    b

    ps
    You could even front it:

    "Want some chocolate? ... Take the whole bar."
    "I couldn't - that's far too much for just me."
    "OK, share it with your sisters."
    "Sisters I don't have; only brothers."

    (This sort of fronting is quite common - see Swan, 513).
    Last edited by BobK; 22-Apr-2008 at 09:45. Reason: Added PS


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 99
    #3

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    a.I don't have sisters.
    b.I don't have any sisters.

    Are they both correct?
    I've asked a similar question before.
    But I still don't understand.

    Please help me.
    No, only #2 is grammatically correct.
    We normally use the indefinite pronoun "any" in negative and interrogative sentences before countable and uncountable nouns.
    For example:
    I don't have any apples.
    Do you have any books on medicine?
    There isn't any sugar in my tea.
    There isn't any university out there.

  3. tzfujimino's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
      • Home Country:
      • Japan
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,697
    #4

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    Quote Originally Posted by MashUK View Post
    No, only #2 is grammatically correct.
    We normally use the indefinite pronoun "any" in negative and interrogative sentences before countable and uncountable nouns.
    For example:
    I don't have any apples.
    Do you have any books on medicine?
    There isn't any sugar in my tea.
    There isn't any university out there.
    Thank you, MashUK.
    I understand what you're trying to say.
    Then, what about these sentences below?

    a.I don't like dogs.
    b.I don't like any dogs.

    Would you think the sentence a. is unacceptable?

    Thank you.
    Last edited by tzfujimino; 22-Apr-2008 at 09:59.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 99
    #5

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    Quote Originally Posted by tzfujimino View Post
    Thank you, MashUK.
    I understand what you're trying to say.
    Then, what about these sentences below?

    a.I don't like dogs.
    b.I don't like any dogs.

    Would you think the sentence a. is unacceptable?

    Thank you.
    Anytime

    I would say sentence a is acceptable. But in these particular cases we have to deal with the semantics more rather than grammar.
    a) I don't like dogs-here the noun "dogs" is used in a generalised meaning- i have no warm feelings for dogs, whatever they may be. The same with: i don't like sugar, i hate loneliness. I guess, this is the influence of suchlike verbs and verbal expressions (love/like/hate/dislike/can't stand/can't bear etc.)
    In sentence b you stress the fact that you don't like dogs regardless their breed, size, colour etc.
    I may be wrong though suggesting that.
    Hope a native speaker will clarify the situation here

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

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #6

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    In fact, an even stronger interpretation of b would be 'There is no dog that I like [in spite of the fact that what you have said, or some other contextual clue, gives the impression that you believe that I am bound to like at least one]'.

    b


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #7

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    This is what BobK was trying to show, that two sentences can both be grammatically correct, but how and when we would use one or the other depends on the context, the situation.

    I don't like dogs.
    A flat statement about all dogs in general.

    b.I don't like any dogs.
    On it's own, a very odd sentence. But...
    "I don't like any dogs in my house. They leave a smell in the carpet you can never get rid of. I don't even let seeing-eye dogs in! It won't hurt the owner just to rely on his cane for once."

  5. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #8

    Re: I don't have sisters.

    Good example - the seeing-eye dog.

    b

Similar Threads

  1. Need help with my little sister's homework
    By kwfine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 21-Apr-2008, 16:15
  2. I don't have brothers or sisters.
    By tzfujimino in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-Apr-2008, 10:39
  3. brothers or sisters
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Mar-2008, 19:37
  4. 100-brother(s) and sister(s)?
    By matilda in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Apr-2006, 09:43
  5. Need help with my sister's piece of writing
    By Flash in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-Mar-2006, 06:36

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
  •