Usage of any

Subhajit12

Banned
Hindi
Hi everyone i have a grammar question. Can i use 'any' with plural nouns when it means 'it doesn't matter'?

1- It's so easy. Any student(s) can solve this problem.

2- Any women(woman) living in Africa know(s) the pain of hunger.

3- Any boy(s) can relate to my problem.

4- There wasn't any player who could win the match for us.

5- There weren't any players who could win the match for us.
 
Last edited:
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    Can i use 'any' with plural nouns when it means 'it doesn't matter'?
    "Any" doesn't mean "it doesn't matter". In sentences 1 to 3, you need the singular noun because you're using "any". "Any student" in sentence 1 means "whichever student you pick" and it's to be similarly interpreted in sentences 2 and 3.

    Sentences 4 and 5 are fine, though I think sentence 4 would sound better if you rephrased to: There wasn't a single player who.../There was no player who...
     

    Subhajit12

    Banned
    Hindi
    "Any" doesn't mean "it doesn't matter". In sentences 1 to 3, you need the singular noun because you're using "any". "Any student" in sentence 1 means "whichever student you pick" and it's to be similarly interpreted in sentences 2 and 3.:confused:

    Sentences 4 and 5 are fine, though I think sentence 4 would sound better if you rephrased to: There wasn't a single player who.../There was no player who...
    Hi Barque, can i use plural nouns in sentences 1 to 3.
     

    Subhajit12

    Banned
    Hindi
    Can someone please confirm is this sentence correct?

    1- The best protection any women can have is courage.
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    As I already said in post 2, you need a singular noun (which means you can't use a plural noun).

    I also explained why - "any student" means "whichever student you pick". "Student" is singular. Your sentence 1 means: Even if you pick one student at random out from many, he will be able to answer the question.

    Have you looked up the meaning of "any"? It will be much easier for you (and for those who answer your questions) if you look up the meanings of words you ask about.

    1- The best protection any women can have is courage.
    I'd normally expect "woman", not "women", for the reason explained above. You could use "women" too in this sentence but "woman" sounds much more natural. In sentences 1 to 3 in your OP however, I'd only use the singular noun.
     

    Subhajit12

    Banned
    Hindi
    As I already said in post 2, you need a singular noun (which means you can't use a plural noun).

    I also explained why - "any student" means "whichever student you pick". "Student" is singular. Your sentence 1 means: Even if you pick one student at random out from many, he will be able to answer the question.

    Have you looked up the meaning of "any"? It will be much easier for you (and for those who answer your questions) if you look up the meanings of words you ask about.


    I'd normally expect "woman", not "women", for the reason explained above. You could use "women" too in this sentence but "woman" sounds much more natural. In sentences 1 to 3 in your OP however, I'd only use the singular noun.

    Thank you barque.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    "Any" doesn't mean "it doesn't matter". "Any student" in sentence 1 means "whichever student you pick"
    Well, so in a way it does mean "it doesn't matter", because it doesn't matter which student you pick. :)
    You need "woman", not "women", for the reason explained above.
    Indeed. Or you could use "women" but delete "any".
    Can i use 'any' with plural nouns
    You can't use "any" with plurals unless it's in a negative context (as in your examples 4 and 5), or when asking a question: "Are there any apples left in the basket?"
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    so in a way it does mean "it doesn't matter", because it doesn't matter which student you pick.
    Yes, that did occur to me, but when you're learning to use a word it's sometimes better to understand the "actual" meaning first. The implied ones will follow.
     

    Subhajit12

    Banned
    Hindi
    Well, so in a way it does mean "it doesn't matter", because it doesn't matter which student you pick. :)

    Indeed. Or you could use "women" but delete "any".

    You can't use "any" with plurals unless it's in a negative context (as in your examples 4 and 5), or when asking a question: "Are there any apples left in the basket?"

    Thank u Barque and Edinburgher. So I should write like these:

    1- The best protection a woman can have is courage.

    2- The best protection any woman can have is courage.

    3- The best protection women can have is courage.

    And one more question i think these two sentences mean the same.
    A- I don't want any woman to go through the pain I felt.

    B- I don't want any women to go through the pain I felt.

    Perhaps, the first one is more emphatic. Are they both correct?
     

    Subhajit12

    Banned
    Hindi
    Actually, there are some circumstances when you can use it with plurals, even when it's neither negative nor interrogatory, for example when an explicit number is given:
    Pick any five cards from this deck.

    So can i write "I could choose any books I wanted." Here I mean any number of books. The number is not specified.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Please don't write 'u' when you mean "you".

    Your examples 1,2,3, and A are fine (except that you need "I felt", not "i felt"). B is acceptable because of the negative, but it's borderline because the "not" applies more to "want" than to "any". A is better than B.
    So can i write "I could choose any books I wanted." Here I mean any number of books. The number is not specified.
    I wouldn't recommend it, though it might be OK in some contexts. Notice that I said "explicit", and this means you have to say it, not just mean it. If it is not specified, it is not explicit.
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    So can i write "I could choose any books I wanted.
    If you mean "any number", you need to say it. I could choose any number of books I wanted. (Or more naturally: I could choose as many books as I liked. "Liked" here means "wanted" or "wished to".)

    Without the reference to "number", that sentence means you could choose whatever books you wanted.
     
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