General Writing and Grammar Help/countable noun+any

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Question
Hi

Last week, I asked you a question about the use of ANY. You told me if after ANY a countable noun comes, then it should be PLURAL, right?

Thank you very much for your answer. This question has rather killed me. I have asked several native speakers the same question about the use of countable nouns after ANY. Some native teachers (like you) say that after ANY we need a plural noun, yet others say we can have either a singular or plural.

You said that if after ANY a countable noun comes, then it should be plural, rights? Please take a look at the examples on this website here at:
http://fraze.it/n_search.jsp?q=any&findid=-1&ff=&ffp=0&ffo=false&cpradius=1&l=0&

Well, I have found a few sentences there where after ANY a countable noun has come and it is SINGULAR. For example,

1) This man should be banned from ever having a dog or any other animal ever again. (As you see, animal is countable and it has come after ANY but it is singular.)

2) Gaffney said district trustees never expected any type of permit review process. (Please note that TYPE is singular.)

3) Does it make any difference if a pro athlete, actor or musician backs something? (please note that DIFFERENCE is singular.)

What do you think? I am confused.

Thank you

Answer
Hello Hame!

Sorry for the late reply, but thank you for your patience.

Yes, I remember telling you that.  What I said was wrong: I should have been more specific.

In question form, any is usually used with plural nouns.  For example:

"Do you have any questions?"
"Do you speak any foreign languages?"

However, in other statements, any can be used with any type (or types!) of nouns:

"If you have any questions, please tell me."
"Any other time, I would do it."
"He can eat any type of food you offer him."

The third example provided is interesting: colloquially, that is fine.  In other words, with certain nouns, especially abstract ones, such as "difference", any is used with both singular and plural nouns.  However, technically, the third example is incorrect.

I'm sure you'll have more questions, so please don't hesitate to send me a follow up!  I will be on vacation next week so I'll be able to respond more quickly!

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Brian

Expertise

Anything to do with word usage and/or grammar, plus the fundamentals on almost any type of writing (especially creative writing, such as poetry, short stories, movie/dramatic scripts, etc.)

Experience

Majored in English literature in college; have published short stories and poems, currently teaching English as a second language to foreigners

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As mentioned above, a bachelor's in English Literature and also a CELTA certification which enables me to teach English as a second language to foreigners.

Awards and Honors
Editor's Choice for a national poetry contest. 2nd prize for a short story in a city-wide short story contest.

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