[Grammar] Can 'any' be used in front of plural nouns in positive sentences?

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lovecindy

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Can 'any' be used in front of plural nouns in positive sentences?

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Is this sentence correct? Why?
 

bhaisahab

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Can 'any' be used in front of plural nouns in positive sentences?

If you have any questions, please let me know.
Is this sentence correct? Yes.Why? Why not?
The following are also correct.
"If you have any problems, tell me."
"If you have any oranges, bring them round and we'll make marmalade"."
 

5jj

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Also:

George will sort out any problems you may have with your computer.
Any books you have taken home must be returned to the staff room before the summer holiday.


In both of these,it's not just that any is possible; some is not appropriate.

Why? Michael Lewis explains:

"Some is used if the idea is restricted or limited in some way.
Any is used if the idea is unrestricted or unlimited.
Any
applies to all or none: some applies to part.

The restriction may be a real one [...] or a psychological one existing only in the mind of the speaker."


[FONT=&quot]Lewis, Michael (1985) The English Verb, Hove: LTP[/FONT]
 

lovecindy

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Also:

George will sort out any problems you may have with your computer.
Any books you have taken home must be returned to the staff room before the summer holiday.

In both of these,it's not just that any is possible; some is not appropriate.

Why? Michael Lewis explains:

"Some is used if the idea is restricted or limited in some way.
Any is used if the idea is unrestricted or unlimited.
Any applies to all or none: some applies to part.

The restriction may be a real one [...] or a psychological one existing only in the mind of the speaker."

[FONT=&quot]Lewis, Michael (1985) The English Verb, Hove: LTP[/FONT]

Thank you very much!

:?:If you have some questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
:?:If you have any question, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
 

5jj

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If you have some questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible; the speaker is using restricting some, suggesting that they feel that the person addressed could well have a question or two.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible. The speaker is using unrestricting any. The person addressed may have a question, or questions - or may have none. The speaker is prepared for any possibility.
 

lovecindy

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If you have some questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible; the speaker is using restricting some, suggesting that they feel that the person addressed could well have a question or two.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible. The speaker is using unrestricting any. The person addressed may have a question, or questions - or may have none. The speaker is prepared for any possibility.


:up:Finally, I understand.
 

5jj

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:up:Finally, I understand.
I had problems with this throughout my career. I could not find a straightforward explanation that covered every possibility, until I discovered Lewis.

One of the key things is "The restriction may be a real one [...] or a psychological one existing only in the mind of the speaker." Two native speakers may look at an identical situation; one will come up with an utterance containing some, the other with one containing any.

Like so many things in English (the choice of the 'correct' way of expressing the future is one of these), we are in the area of grammar as choice. Unfortunately some teachers and course books often give the impression that one way is 'better' or 'more natural' than all others. It may seem more natural to one speaker, or even to many speakers; that does not necessarily mean that a speaker who looks at the situation in a different way is wrong.

It is also unfortunate that many learners are unhappy about this. They would prefer a firm rule. Actually, once one grasps the concept of grammar as choice, it is very liberating. That nagging thought one had that another way seemed possible can be true - despite what the teacher may have claimed.
 

5jj

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I thought I was becoming absent-minded, responding to questions and forgetting to submit them. I now see that you are running two threads on the same topic. Please don't do that it can lead to confusing and contradictory answers.
 

philo2009

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If you have some questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible; the speaker is using restricting some, suggesting that they feel that the person addressed could well have a question or two.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Correct or wrong?
This is possible. The speaker is using unrestricting any. The person addressed may have a question, or questions - or may have none. The speaker is prepared for any possibility.

It is worth noting, however, that, simple grammaticality notwithstanding, only the second is likely to be heard or considered natural in the vast majority of everyday situations. (Quite apart from anything, it is probably a courtesy to one's addressee NOT to assume that there is something that (s)he does not know or understand!)
 
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