English as a Second Language/ANY..



How are you?

A question has been with me like a shadow for a long time, but I have never managed to find the answer.

When after "ANY" a countable noun comes, then that noun should be in plural or singular? For example,

Any friend


Any friends

Any many other examples. Please help me with my question.

Thank you for taking the time to help me.



Hi Hame,

I have gotten several questions from Iran.  That is very interesting to me.  Do a lot of people there study English?

To answer your question, whether or not the countable noun that follows 'any' should be plural or not has a lot to do with what function the word serves.

Below my answer you'll find the definitions taken from Merriam-Webster.com (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/any).

There are 3 ways to use 'any.'  It can be used as an adjective, pronoun or adverb.

I will use your example, 'any friend(s).'

My example sentences:

1) Do you have any friends?  In this case I'm using the word as an adjective in Merriam-Webster's example 2a.  With this usage the noun will always be plural.  The person's answer to my question, of course, can be either singular or plural.

2) Feel free to invite any friend (or friends) you'd like.  In this case I'm using it as an adjective defined in 3a.  If I say 'friend' I'm letting you invite one friend.  If I say 'friends' you can invite one friend, or as many friends, as you'd like.

I hope this answers your question.


Definition of ANY (adjective)

1: one or some indiscriminately of whatever kind:
    a : one or another taken at random <ask any man you meet>
    b : every —used to indicate one selected without restriction <any child would know that>

2: one, some, or all indiscriminately of whatever quantity:
    a : one or more —used to indicate an undetermined number or amount <have you any money>
    b : all —used to indicate a maximum or whole <needs any help he can get>
    c : a or some without reference to quantity or extent <grateful for any favor at all>

3:   a : unmeasured or unlimited in amount, number, or extent <any quantity you desire>
    b : appreciably large or extended <could not endure it any length of time>

Definition of ANY (pronoun, singular or plural in construction)

1: any person or persons : anyone
2:   a : any thing or things
    b : any part, quantity, or number

Definition of ANY (adverb)

: to any extent or degree : at all <was never any good> <no, it doesn't help me any>
See any defined for English-language learners »

Examples of ANY

   The food there is never any good.
   He won't be any happier there than he was here.
   I could not walk any farther.
   I can't eat any more pizza.

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I can answer any question about the English language or US culture for non-native English speakers. I will not answer homework questions.


Native English speaker, experience teaching English to ELLs.

Bachelor's Degree, Seattle University

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