'Is there any' or 'Are there any'

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arashgh1987

Senior Member
persian
Hi guys

which one is true?

1) Is there any differences between ....
2) Are there any differences between ....

I've searched and I saw that both sentences are used.

Thank you.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I recommend that you use "are" because you are talking about the plural "differences":

    Are there any differences between them? Here we have more than one difference.

    But: Is there any difference between them? Here we talk of only one difference.
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    I've just searched and I saw that there's about 1,440,000 results with " Is there any differences ...." and I guessed that it's true.
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    Yes , and one other thing , I've read that if a noun is countable we must put the noun in plural after 'any' which means "Is there any difference" is wrong. (I think I got my answer , the 'difference' in this form is uncountable and we can use "Is there any difference" ) but what about 1,440,000 results?:)
     
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    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    This is proof that the number of hits on Google is NOT proof of validity.

    Examples of countable nouns in the singular after ANY:
    Is there anything wrong?
    Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Is there any god out there listening to me?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Spira's right, Arash. There is a lot of bad English on Google, and you can't really on big Google numbers to mean that something said in English is correct.

    You would be much wiser to seek your answers in here, or to visit one of the thousands of websites devoted to English grammar and writing. If you'd like a good place to start, you can type in both "is" and "are" with the quotation marks in the search window. You will come to a page with many threads on the subject. Here's a thread where you can get started: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1132669
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    Thank you very much. I've just misled with these huge results , and now I have a valuable experience that these results aren't reliable.
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Car is countable , Longman has mentioned that "If you want to use 'any' and 'some' with countable nouns , you must put the nouns into the plural" , how do you justify it?
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    All three of my examples (anything, car, god) contain countable nouns in the singular.

    Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant = any one single model of car.
    Are there any cars big enough to fit an elephant = perhaps several models.

    I'm not sure Longman has thought the subject through enough !!
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    I don't want to insist that you're wrong (Of course it's your language :) ) but I don't understand that why Longman has emphasized that (MUST put the nouns into the plural)
    And again " You can not use a countable noun in the singular in this way-only in the plural"
     
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    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    I don't want to insist that you're wrong (Of course it's your language :) ) but I don't understand why Longman has emphasized that (MUST put the nouns into the plural)
    Me neither. I gave you 3 examples of the opposite, and could probably invent 20 more in the next ten minutes.
    If you see him soon, ask Longman to give me a ring to discuss !!!!!:)
     
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    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    As far as I know such contorted structures are likely to be heard in informal conversations where people tend to use contracted forms:

    "There's too many people in this room." instead of "there are..."
    "How's things?" instead of saying "How are things?"
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    As far as I know such contorted structures are likely to be heard in informal conversations where people tend to use contracted forms:

    "There's too many people in this room." instead of "there are..."
    "How's things?" instead of saying "How are things?"
    That has absolutely nothing to do with this question.
    I used perfectly standard grammatical English, with no contractions, in a way that disproves one of Longman's "rules". That's all.

    Look at them again, and try to find a grammatical error:
    Is there anything wrong?
    Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Is there any god out there listening to me?
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I was specifically addressing the original question and the "is/plural" issue, I wasn't at all referring to your examples.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    I don't understand that why Longman has emphasized that (MUST put the nouns into the plural)
    As Spira said, Longman's rule is an oversimplification: grammar manuals tend to give beginning learners clear, black-and-white guidelines, but advanced learners will eventually discover that these rules are too strongly worded.

    More examples of the structure any + singular count noun can be found in these two recent threads (which you may have already seen):
    Any + singular/plural noun
    "Any" and the "plural" of "countable" nouns

    Thank you very much. I've just misled with these huge results , and now I have a valuable experience that these results aren't reliable.
    Google is useful when the numbers are small. If you search for "is there any elephants" (4 hits) vs "are there any elephants" (16000 hits), the answer is very clear, and very reliable. On the other hand, when Google says it found one or two million pages, this tells you next to nothing, and you need to narrow down your search.
     

    arashgh1987

    Senior Member
    persian
    There are various attitude about it . I think for some words like 'difference' which can be countable or uncountable we can say "Is there any difference..." or "Are there any differences..." . But for those words which are only countable like 'car' we can't say "Is there any car"
    (With respect to all of you guys)
    I'll wait to hear your advice .
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    This is my last participation to this thread, for I don't know how to say more clearly that in certain contexts (like the one I quoted), you CAN say "any car".
    If you just can't believe that, then so be it.

    PS I wish Ewie, or Panj, or StuartM, or Loob, had contributed their thoughts on this one. Different wording from my own may have been more convincing.
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There are various attitude about it . I think for some words like 'difference' which can be countable or uncountable we can say "Is there any difference..." or "Are there any differences..." . But for those words which are only countable like 'car' we can't say "Is there any car"
    (With respect to all of you guys)
    I'll wait to hear your advice .
    Why can't we say "is there any car..."? It's almost equivalent to believing that "is there anyone..." is an incorrect expression.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Among the results for "is there any" in context are many examples from edited news stories in which the singular form of a countable noun is modified by any.

    (It is very difficult to explain why a non-existent rule doesn't exist.)
     
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    kitenok

    Senior Member
    Why can't we say "is there any car..."?
    As Spira has said, we can say this, although I would not say that it is correct in all circumstances.

    If we are merely asking about the presence or absence of one or more of a certain countable object in a certain physical area, then I suppose Longman is correct:

    Are there any cars in this parking lot?:tick:
    Is there any car in this parking lot?:cross: (I would not say this, at any rate.)

    But if we are specifying a particular type of car, and one such car would be sufficient to answer "yes" to our question, then we can use any + singular countable noun:

    Is there any car in this parking lot that is big enough for 12 passengers?:tick:
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There are two quite distinct issues here.

    The simple one first.
    Is with singular or non-count nouns.
    Are with plural nouns.
    I don't think there is any serious doubt about that.

    The more complicated issue is
    Is there any <singular count noun> ...

    I think there is general agreement that this sentence is not correct.
    Is there any car in the parking lot?
    ... but this one is correct.
    Is there any car in the parking lot big enough to take us all to Longman's head office?

    In all the examples of "is there any <singular count noun>" above, the noun is modified by a defining relative clause:
    ... any car (that is) big enough to take us all...
    ... any reason why ...
    ... any god (who is) listening...

    I don't think "anything" is countable :)

    I'm not sure that is "the answer", but it is certainly a pattern in the specific examples that have been given above - which sound fine to me.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Thank you for the last 4 contributions. I think the Longman issue has been settled!

    Perhaps the plural of anything (any one thing), is any 2 things?
    As in "Have I forgotten anything?". "You've forgotten two things,actually".
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    In fairness to Longman, they are not the only ones teaching this "rule". And in defense of the rule, it is a fact that any car cannot be used in as many contexts as any cars. You have to say something about this, or your students will produce a lot of incorrect sentences (Did you see any car drive past just now? If you have any car, we can drive there. You can borrow my car if you need any. Etc.) So what would you tell them?

    1. Yes, you can sometimes use any car, in some kinds of sentences, not really sure how to describe them… maybe if there's a relative clause after it? But no, not just any relative clause, and sometimes there's no relative clause… Erm…
    2. Don't say any car, because it will often be wrong. Say a car, and you will always be right.
    Apparently Longman goes too far and says flat-out that any car is wrong. That kind of dishonesty is rarely a good pedagogical approach… But I have no problem with teachers who settle for option 2 above. It's a start, and for learners who are prepared to hear option 1, there's English Only at WRF™.
     

    mapache-pcp

    Member
    English-US
    I've just searched and I saw that there's about 1,440,000 results with " Is there any differences ...." and I guessed that it's true.
    Mostly due to laziness many English spekaers esp in the U.S. will say this. Also heard a lot is something like, "There's a lot of widgets in there"or "There's a lot of bananas on the table" or whatever, when it "should be "There are". This is mainly due to laziness - since it is harder to say 'there are ' than to say 'there is' because of the two "r"' sounds together.

    Educated people may be heard saying this but they know they are doing it and would clean it up if writing or in formal speech.

    I would not put any trust in those Google hits. The statement "Is there any differences ...." is very clearly, undoubtedly incorrect English/not standard English

    M
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I would not put any trust in those Google hits
    .
    Agreed! If you put that phrase ("Is there any differences" in quotes) as the search term, it will tell you there are ~ 1,500,000 hits. However, click through all the listed pages and on the last page you find
    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 436 already displayed.
    The ~1,500,000 is an estimate and once the number goes above a few hundred or thousand, you can't believe it as meaning anything other than "lots".
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    This is proof that the number of hits on Google is NOT proof of validity.

    Examples of countable nouns in the singular after ANY:
    Is there anything wrong?
    Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Is there any god out there listening to me?
    Now I wonder what if we swap any for a in those sentences?

    Is there a car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Is there a god out there listening to me?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Now I wonder what if we swap any for a in those sentences?

    Is there a car big enough to fit an elephant?
    Is there a god out there listening to me?
    This is fine, Ivan. Your sentences are perfectly normal with "a".
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    This is fine, Ivan. Your sentences are perfectly normal with "a".
    Thank you owlman5. In such a case there another mystery emerges. What is the difference between:

    1) Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    2) Is there a car big enough to fit an elephant?
     

    JordyBro

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    1) Is there any car big enough to fit an elephant?
    2) Is there a car big enough to fit an elephant?
    The first : is there such a thing as a car big enough to fit an elephant?
    The second : Do you have a car that could fit an elphant?
    Or : is there a specific car which could fit an elephant around here?
     

    Ivan_I

    Banned
    Russian
    The first : is there such a thing as a car big enough to fit an elephant?
    The second : Do you have a car that could fit an elphant?
    Or : is there a specific car which could fit an elephant around here?
    It makes sense. Does it mean that, typically, sentences with "any car"-pattern are used in questions?
    I just can't make up an affirmative sentence with "any car".

    - What kind of cars does he have?
    - There is any car you can wish in his garage. (Would it work?)
     
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