I am an English native speaker working with non-native English teachers. In one of our texts, we came across the following sentence:

ABC Mall has the most comprehensive loyalty rewards program of any malls in the area.

But to me, this doesn't seem correct. "of any mall" is more natural, but they state that "any" can go before plural nouns too. And while I agree, this depends on the sentence and the structure itself.

So, is "of any mall" correct? or "of any malls"? And why?

  • 3
    I’d go with “the most ... of any mall ... “. OR “the most ... of any of the malls...” – Jim Feb 14 '17 at 3:34
  • 1
    I think the example cited is acceptable, it looks like a shortening of: ... of any one of the malls... – Mari-Lou A Feb 14 '17 at 6:46
  • any mall is what I would use (native speaker of American English). – AmE speaker Feb 14 '17 at 6:55
  • Related: Any individual or any individuals? – Mari-Lou A Feb 14 '17 at 12:20

I agree with you: I don't find it acceptable to use plural "malls" in "the most comprehensive loyalty rewards program of any malls in the area."

I think the problem with using "malls" is that the preceding noun "program" is singular, and any single program will be associated with only a single mall. It would make sense to say "ABC Mall and XYZ Mall have the most comprehensive loyalty rewards programs of any malls in the area." But when using the singular noun "program", it doesn't seem to work for me to switch to plural in the later part of this noun phrase.

I would say that Jim's suggested rephrasing "the most ... of any of the malls..." works fine because "any of the malls" is valid as a singular noun phrase.


From Practical English Usage by Michael Swan:

Any is very often used with uncountable nouns and plural nouns. It can have the same kind of meaning as the indefinite article a/an has with singular countable nouns. E.g.: I haven't got a car, and I haven't got any money to buy one.

Is there a tin-opener in the house? And are there any plates?

With this meaning any is unusual with singular countable nouns.

She hasn't got a job. - NOT: She hasn't got any job.
Do you know a good doctor? - NOT: Do you know any good doctor?

With an uncountable noun or plural noun, any usually suggests the idea of an indefinite amount or indefinite number. When there is no idea of quantity or number, no article is used.

Is there any water in that can?
Is there water on the moon?

Any can be used to emphasise the idea of 'free choice', with the meaning of 'it doesn't matter who/which/what'. With this meaning, any is common in affirmative clauses as well as questions and negatives, and is often used with singular countable nouns as well as uncountables and plurals."


  • 2
    I think this answer misses the point of the question which is specifically about “the most xxx of any yyy – Jim Feb 14 '17 at 3:32
  • 1
    Not my upvote, this answers the question: How do I use "any" with countable and uncountable nouns? It fails to address specifically the OP's question. – Mari-Lou A Feb 14 '17 at 6:41
  • 1
    You don't actually answer the question. The reader is left to guess the answer for themself based on an accurate, but in my opinion irrelevant, excerpt. – Peter Shor Apr 15 '17 at 14:43

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