2

Everyone can do it.
Nobody can do it.

The both sentences are very clear. I understand what they mean.

Anyone can do it

But I feel a little confused about this sentence. What does it mean?
Is it similar to Everybody can do it? or does it mean Nobody can do it?

closed as general reference by Matt E. Эллен, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, JSBձոգչ, simchona, MrHen Dec 7 '11 at 23:42

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    When you looked up anyone in a dictionary, what did you find that lead to this confusion? – Matt E. Эллен Dec 7 '11 at 12:15
  • I know what anyone means, but I learned it is used only with negative sentences or question sentences. It gives me the confusion. – Benjamin Dec 7 '11 at 12:19
  • Please can you explain what you mean by a negative sentence? I am having trouble understanding your confusion. – Matt E. Эллен Dec 7 '11 at 12:20
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    Hi Benjamin, I think you were taught incorrectly. "Anyone" can most certainly be used in affirmative sentences. The construction of "Anyone can..." is actually quite common. – Bjorn Dec 7 '11 at 12:25
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    You can say "anyone can do it", but not "anyone does it". In the second phrase, you have to use "everyone" (or "someone", but that changes the meaning). Maybe this distinction confused your teacher. – Peter Shor Dec 7 '11 at 14:01
8

There are two different uses of "any" and its relatives such as "anyone".

They are used in negative polarity sentences to replace "some" and similar quantifiers:

I have some apples

I haven't any apples

and not

*I haven't some apples

But there is a separate use of "any" in positive sentences as an indefinite quantifier, meaning "it doesn't make any difference which".

So

Anyone can do it

Means

It doesn't make any difference who you choose, they can do it.

So yes, it is very close to "Everyone can do it".

6

Maybe I'm repeating some of what Brett wrote but I think it needs to be made clearer that "Anyone can do it" and "Everyone can do it" can have different meanings.

"Anyone can buy a ticket" may be true if the price is low enough but

"Everyone can buy a ticket" assumes that there are an infinite number (or at least 6 billion or so)

3

When you use every, it means it is true of 100% of the members of a group. When you use any it means that, regardless of which member of the group I choose, it will be true.

In sentences like yours, these mean the same thing, so the two sentences anyone can do it and everyone can do it have the same meaning: 'all'.

1

In addition to what others have said, Anyone can do it can mean that something is so easy that it's within everyone's ability.

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