Are both of the following sentences correct?

If there are (any) cars parked in the road, they will be towed away.

If there is any car parked in the road, it will be towed away.

I know we generally use the first sentence in these circumstances. But is there any situation where I can use the second sentence? I have seen people use the second sentence too but not so often.

One more question, if I omit 'any' in the first sentence (If there are cars parked in the road, they will be towed away), will that be correct too?

  • Both are acceptable and why is this not a Question for English Language Learners, please? – Robbie Goodwin Sep 20 '17 at 21:17
  • Sentence 2 sounds really awkward to me. I would definitely not use it. I would prefer sentence 1. Or, "If a car is parked in the road, it will be towed away." – posfan12 Nov 30 '18 at 4:27
  • They're both correct, but "Cars parked in the road will be towed away" says the same thing more efficiently. – Andreas Blass May 12 at 1:23
  • strictly, the first allows the possibility that a single car would not be towed away. – Toothrot May 15 at 18:11

You absolutely can use the second sentence in any situation in which the first one is used. There is no real difference in correctness or meaning, as far as I can tell. It seems to simply be a matter of learned patterns that causes the first one to be more popular.

Also, the first sentence should be just as correct without the use of the word any.

  • 1
    Equally, you could omit the 'if' part. "Any car(s) left parked in the road will be towed away". – Kate Bunting Sep 19 '17 at 7:09

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