Idiomatic negative form for "anything"

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Hello everyone,


I read here that "not" + "anything", although used, isn't idiomatic in the contexts below.

- Anything is possible now. 'I don't agree. Not anything is possible. Actually, few things are possible, and not all things.'
- Here anything goes. 'No, not anything goes here. There are restrictions.'


My question
: How can I, idiomatically, make the negative form of "not anything" in the contexts showed?

Would it be with "not everything"?


Thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, you can certainly form sentences with 'not everything' and they'd be perfectly acceptable.

    However, I do think it is fine also to write 'not anything', provided the sentence with 'anything' appears before it as in your examples. It's clear here, that you're negating the whole proposition in the 'anything' sentences.
     
    If someone says, "Anything goes, around here," one would contradict by saying, "No, everything does not go {= is *not* allowed}, around here" of "Some things do not go {are not allowed}around here."

    Compare "There isn't anything still left out there," I say, looking out the window. "Oh, yes, there's something. See, behind the tree is a bear."
    or, "No, everything is not gone. There's one bear left."
     
    Thank you very much.

    I do think it is fine also to write 'not anything', provided the sentence with 'anything' appears before it as in your examples. It's clear here, that you're negating the whole proposition in the 'anything' sentences.
    So, let me see if I understood it correctly: if there is a proper context, it makes the "not anything" idiomatic/natural in English in my contexts above? Am I correct?
     
    One can always construct a negation {an overall one}. But you asked for idiomatic and natural, as I gave. If it's simply overall negation,
    "Anything goes around here."
    To which I reply, "Well, it's not the case [or 'it's not true'] that 'anything goes' around here."

    NOTE: Just to be clear, the reply is NOT what you suggested, which sounds odd. "NOT, 'anything goes' around here!" {X} I'm not sure if Nat was recommending that.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ...- Anything is possible now. 'I don't agree. Not anything is possible. Actually, few things are possible, and not all things.'
    - Here anything goes. 'No, not anything goes here. There are restrictions.'...
    My question
    : How can I, idiomatically, make the negative form of "not anything" in the contexts showed?...
    Idiomatically:

    - Anything is possible now. 'I don't agree. Not everything is possible.

    - Here anything goes. 'No, not everything goes here. There are restrictions.'...


    (Also see Bennymix #3)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    NOTE: Just to be clear, the reply is NOT what you suggested, which sounds odd. "NOT, 'anything goes' around here!" {X} I'm not sure if Nat was recommending that.
    No, I'm not recommending it. My point is that it would not sound absolutely bizarre if someone said that.
     
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