0

I have seen both. I tried to think about the count. When it comes to "nothing", it indicates a number of 0, which in English should be expressed by plural. However, both forms are common.

Which form should I use? Are(is) there any difference(s)?

A similar question is linked here: Should I use "What is the difference..." or "What are the differences..." if I don't know how many difference(s) there is/are?

  • Both expressions mean that the person has no apples (at least none that he's willing to part with). – Hot Licks Jan 26 at 19:34
  • 1
    Grammaticality doesn't play a part here. Semanto-logically, the first could mean you've two apples and the second you've got one. However, that would be off-topic here on ELU. While "I don't have any apples" is doubtless more commonly used than either, each would pragmatically be preferred in different (though unusual) circumstances. (1) "You've all been given an apple, a pear and three figs." ... "Please Sir, ..." // (2) "John here usually brings us every different kind of fruit from the warehouse. Have you got all the types we asked for on the van today, John? " ... "I don't have apples." – Edwin Ashworth Jan 26 at 19:50
  • He doesn't have apples because it's a hardware store. – Hot Licks Jan 26 at 20:51
1

Saying "I don't have any apples" refers to the category of apples as perhaps a fruit or a product. Saying "I don't have an apple" means I do not have a single example of one. Each is used in a particular context where the meaning will be clear.

Looking at my store shelves I would refer to apples as the category in general. Looking into my lunch box I would refer to an individual item. Each could be used in either case without being inaccurate but this can create the confusion you are expressing. Just as if you might look at a dozen apples you could say "I don't have An apple."

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.