These are two sentences that I have a question about.

  1. Mt. Fuji is higher than any other mountains in Japan.
  2. Mt. Fuji is higher than any other mountain in Japan.

I know the second sentence is the correct one, but why can't we use the first sentence? The dictionary says "Do you have any other questions?" and "He doesn't have any other shoes to wear." Using any here we use the plural, so why can't we use it with the first sentence that I questioned you about?

How can I explain to students who are learning English?

closed as off-topic by Kris, Benyamin Hamidekhoo, Rory Alsop, Hellion, Ste Dec 13 '13 at 9:14

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  • Thank you. I know that the mountain is singular, but there are more than one mountain in Japan, so can't we use the plural 'mountains'. – Jane Toba Dec 10 '13 at 22:58
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    Welcome to EL&U, Jane. No need to add greetings or "thanks" within your posts - we like to get right to the point in questions and answers to make the site easy to read for future visitors who have the same questions. You can of course comment and fill out your own profile! Since it seems you're teaching English, check out our sister site English Language Learners too :) – aedia λ Dec 10 '13 at 23:26
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    There's no reason not to use the first sentence; it says the same thing as the other. If it's higher than any other mountain, then it's higher than all of them. Considered individually, of course, rather than piled up one on another; that's a presupposition of this frame. – John Lawler Dec 11 '13 at 0:04
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    It seems to have something to do with the comparison in the sentence (using "than"). There's nothing wrong with saying, "Are there any other mountains you'd like to discuss?" Even "Mt. Fuji is higher than any of the other mountains in Japan" sounds better than #1. – The Phil Lee Dec 11 '13 at 3:52
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    Suggested migration to English Language Learners – Kris Dec 11 '13 at 6:03

The issue is what are you comparing.

If you are comparing the mountain to each of the single mountains, it is

Mt. Fuji is higher than any other mountain in Japan.

If you are comparing the mountain to all the other mountains in Japan, you need to add an of the and then you get plural

Mt. Fuji is higher than any of the other mountains in Japan.

About your shoes:

(A pair of) Shoes are plural in any case unless he lost one.

He lost a shoe and does not have any other to put on his left foot.

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    And yet you could say Mt. Fuji is higher than other mountains in Japan, leaving out any. – Mynamite Dec 10 '13 at 23:00
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    @Mynamite, yes because "other mountains" is a plural set "any other mountain" is any one of that set – mgb Dec 11 '13 at 4:03
  • @Mynamite I am not quite sure what you expected. Different sentence is different. You can change the grammaticality of any sentence by adding or removing words. I could remove a random word from your comment, rendering it ungrammatical. That doesn't say anything about the grammaticality of the original. – RegDwigнt Dec 11 '13 at 10:27
  • Shouldn't the first sentence of your answer read like 'The issue is what you are comparing' – Ramit Dec 11 '13 at 10:34
  • @RegDwigнt Hands up, I surrender! I didn't 'expect' anything, it was merely an observation. It's no wonder non-native speakers might find it difficult with so many variations. Mplungian has also changed the grammar of the original sentence by adding of the, but escaped your censure. – Mynamite Dec 11 '13 at 13:56

Here are the analysis:

Let mt.Fuji be = A All other mountains = B to Z

Mt. Fuji is higher than any other mountain in Japan. "other" here indicates any mountain from B to Z That is why "Mountains" is not necessary.

If you want to pluralize mountain, I suggest the following.

Mt. Fuji is the highest among other mountains in Japan.

  • Or just leave out any – mplungjan Dec 11 '13 at 5:18

The first one is be used for comparison of superlatives .one with the others.

But the second one is used for comparing two things.

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