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I am an English tutor. I also lived in the USA for 2 years. Today when I was explaining to my student the use of 'any' in questions and negations, I got stuck. I know we use it before countable nouns in plural and we use it before an uncountable noun. But from my experience speaking English on a daily basis back in the USA I remember people using 'any' with a singular countable noun. For example, 'Is there any room available?'. What are your thoughts on that? Maybe it's the matter of British and American English?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Hank, Laurel, Cascabel, Edwin Ashworth Feb 14 '17 at 19:51

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  • 1
    I would take that to be the uncountable room meaning space. – Jim Feb 14 '17 at 3:57
  • It isn't clear what the confusion is. There are two ways to interpret that sentence. Jim's comment refers to the uncountable. It could also apply to countable rooms (say a hotel), and the question is whether any one of the many is available. Can you clarify the question? – fixer1234 Feb 14 '17 at 4:09
  • Any fish could tell you it would prefer being thrown back in the water over being filleted. – Spencer Feb 14 '17 at 5:45
  • "Any" is the counterpart of "some" in negative contexts (including questions), and that "any" can be used with a singular count noun, as can the "any" of a generalization, as in @Spencer's example. – Greg Lee Feb 14 '17 at 6:32

'Is there any room available?' Whether the room here is countable or uncountable (meaning space), any can be used with it as explained below:

NOTE: The following text and screen shots attached are from Practical English Usage by Michael Swan

'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."


She goes out with any boy who asks her.
Can get a meal here at any time of the day?
I don't do just any work - I choose jobs that interest me.

But, 'any' can be used with plurals and uncountables in the same meaning as the article a/an has with singular countable nouns. With this meaning, 'any' is unusual with singular countable nouns.


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

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