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Something just came up on a news bulletin, and I'm a bit puzzled.

  • I was unaware of everything that happened that night.
  • I wasn’t aware of anything that happened that night.

"Not aware" and "unaware" mean the same thing, a lack of awareness (as far as I am aware!), and yet the everything and anything are not interchangeable.

Am I right in this? If so, can anyone explain the intricacy?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Hank, Drew, tchrist Feb 23 '17 at 23:58

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I was unaware of everything that happened that night.

Does not say the same as:

I wasn’t aware of anything that happened that night.

Everything and anything are not opposites, or antonyms. Nor are they synonyms.

The two sentences convey two different, but not completely different, notions.

"I was unaware of everything" means the person did not become acquainted with every detail of a situation, but maybe knew some details.
"I wasn’t aware of anything" means the person knew nothing about a situation.

"Anything" is any part of something.
"Everything" is all parts of something.

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