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"any difficulty" or "any difficulties"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Stellaster, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Stellaster New Member

    Italian
    Hi everyone,
    which sentence is more correct:

    "you won't have any difficulty to find your way around the city"
    "you won't have any difficulties to find your way around the city"

    are they both correct? do they mean the same thing?
    I would go with the first one, but I'm not sure if "difficulty" is a countable noun.

    Thanks!
     
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Neither sentence is quite right. You need to change "to find" to "finding" - then both are correct :)
    The red text is equivalent to "difficulty" - the grammatical term escapes me for the moment.

    You won't have any difficulty finding your way around the city.
    You won't have any difficulties finding your way around the city.

    The first, with singular difficulty, seems a lot more natural to me.
     
  3. Stellaster New Member

    Italian
    :eek: now that was an embarassing mistake! :eek:

    thank you for your reply!
    I was wondering if there is a grammatical explanation to it?
     
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Oh bother, you want a grammatical explanation.

    I think the red phrases are noun phrases, in apposition to either difficulty or difficulties.
     
  5. evergreen_ivy Junior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese
    You may need "in" to link "difficulty" with the red phrase.
    i.e. You won't have any difficulty in finding your way around the city.

    But I'm not sure whether it should be "difficulty" or "difficulties"....
     
  6. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    I'm leaning towards evergreen ivy's suggestion. A BNC/COCA search turns up the following frequency numbers:
    ...................................BNC.............COCA
    difficulty finding................43... ...........153
    difficulty in finding.......... ..76................53
    As I see it, this means that 'any difficulty finding your way around the city' is an ellipsis of 'any difficulty in finding your way around the city', where 'any difficulty' is a noun phrase and 'in finding your way around the city' is a noun phrase complement. From this source, here are more examples of such complements:
    My English teacher encourages my passion [noun phrase] for reading [noun phrase complement].
    Your love [NP] of spaghetti with ketchup [NPC] seems strange to me.
    His fear [NP] of falling to his death [NPC] prevents him from bungee jumping.
    The author [NP] of the famous book [NPC] died a terrible death at a young age.
     

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