EN: a / any + singular / plural noun

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by tenderfoot360, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. tenderfoot360 New Member

    usa, english
    Why is it that any takes a plural noun? For example, She doesn't have any friends.
  2. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    Hi, Tenderfoot!

    While that's generally true, there is an exception when you're dealing noncount nouns:

    I don't have any money.
    Do you have any butter?

    As to why this partitive is used with count nouns which are plural, the only answer is that it's use as such is rooted in history. At some point in the past, people started using it that way.

  3. theRam New Member

    English - US
    If you're looking for a construction that would use a singular noun, it would be:
    "She doesn't have a single friend." or
    "She has not one friend."
  4. KenInPDX Senior Member

    Portland, Oregon
    US English
    Isn't the same in French?

    Wouldn't you say

    Elle n'a pas des amies


    Elle n'a pas de l'argent?
  5. theRam New Member

    English - US
    Well actually, these sentences themselves aren't entirely correct.

    Elle n'a pas d'amis.
    Elle n'a pas d'argent.

    This is because any "mutation" of de drops the article in a negation. Otherwise, though, the sentences are correct. You could also say:

    "Elle n'a aucun ami."
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2012
  6. ParisLondon Junior Member

    Hello! I'd like to know if we use a plural or a singular form after "Any" in English. For instance would you say "I didn't get any details" or "I didn't get any detail"? Thanks in advance!
  7. veronicamars Junior Member

    Ajaccio, France
    English - Canadian, Farsi
    I would say, "I didn't get any details."
  8. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    You can use "any" with a singular (uncoutable) or a plural (countable) noun.
    I haven't got any milk.
    I haven't got any apples.
  9. drassum Senior Member

    french - france/île de la Réunion

    J'ai lu beaucoup de choses, parfois contradictoire sur le sujet. Aussi, j'aimerais avoir un nouveau point de vue.

    1 "I don't have any favourite film."

    2 "I don't have any favourite films."

    Bien que le pluriel accompagne, le plus souvent, "any". La phrase 1 reste-elle correcte?

    D'avance merci pour vos réponse.
  10. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    J'aurais dit "I don't have a favourite film" au singulier.
  11. CapnPrep Senior Member

    Oui, elle reste correcte. Any peut déterminer un nom au singulier, même si, comme tu le dis, il se construit plus souvent avec un pluriel (ou avec un singulier indénombrable).

    Voir aussi les fils suivants :
    if I would have any objection if they painted the doors

    Et sur le forum English Only :
    Any+singular/plural: If you have any <problem/problems>
    "Any" and the "plural" of "countable" nouns
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2012
  12. Kekepop

    Kekepop Senior Member

    Californian English
    Quoique, à mes oreilles, la phrase 1 est très mal faite.. peut-être est-ce dû à une certaine façon de parler ? De ma région, peut-être ? Pour moi je dirais assez simplement : I don't have any favorite movies. (movies à la place de films puisque je suis américain.)
  13. drassum Senior Member

    french - france/île de la Réunion

    Je suis tombé sur la phrase suivante et me demande si "any" est préférable à "a", ou si les deux sont interchangeables:

    "There isn't any chair in his house."

    "Any" n'est-il pas, en principe, suivi d'un nom pluriel à la forme négative (dans ce cas avec plutôt "aren't") ? "There aren ' t any ch airs in his house."

    Merci pour votre aide.
  14. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    Personnellement, vu qu'on veut mettre l'accent sur le fait qu'il n'y a pas de chaises dans sa maison, j'aurais sûrement dit:

    There isn't a single chair in his house.

    Par contre, avec le pluriel, je mets volontiers any:

    There aren't any chairs in his house.
  15. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    You're right - the original doesn't sound to me like a native English speaker wrote it, and I'd usually write there aren't any chairs in his house. With the singular I might write there isn't one chair in his house, or there isn't a single chair in his house; those both suggest greater emphasis than the usual expression.

    Edit: whoops, cross-posted. :)
  16. drassum Senior Member

    french - france/île de la Réunion
    Thank you very much for your answers !

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