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We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More. Well, it depends on the context. The second version is a completely different meaning from the first; and in fact, the way the sentence is written, doesn't make a lot of sense. Since you're asking what the difference is, if you find everything, then, out of all the possible things there are to find, you must find every single one, without exception.
On the other hand, if you find anything, then you only need find one or more, not necessarily every one.
There's nothing positive or negative about either one. It's simply a matter of what you're trying to say. They mean two different things. Everything means all. Anything means at least one, possibly more. Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, but that is what you asked. It's interesting: we use "anything" and "everything" often, understanding—we think—the difference.
But dictionary definitions are less than clear:. These are from Merriam-Webster Online. The first is hardly a definition, and the second is little better. I examined my older dictionaries and found no clearer explanation. My sense is that "anything" implies a singularity, while "everything" will usually be plural. It's the difference is between finding one thing and finding all things or as defined: "all that exists; all that relates to the subject".
Put simply: "I find a random thing" versus "I find all things. Douglas, I would agree with most of what you said with a minor exception. I would suggest that anything could imply either a singularity or a plurality. I would even suggest that if you have everything, then you also have anything. Anything is the opossite of nothing. If you have one, two, or all ten out of a possible ten things, then you have anything. The only way you can't have anything is if you have nothing. On the other hand, if you have everything, then you can only have all ten things. Perhaps I'm beating a dead horse here, but imagine we were discussing ten marbles.
I asked you if you had anything in your hand. If you had any marbles at all you'd have to answer yes, even if you had all ten. If I asked if you had everything in your hand, referring to the marbles, of course, you could only answer yes if you had all ten. Instead, I would suggest that the totality of everything is actually included in the word anythi. The word "some" is even more tricky. Depending on context, it could mean more than one, but less than all, or it could mean more than one, including all, or it could even mean an unspecified individual.
Porsche, You make a good point. By "singularity" I meant as a grammatical construction, as in "anything goes. Anything is basically saying 'any one thing'. Just one. I'm sure, however, that there are probably instances where it might be more than one thing. Everything should be take word for word, 'every thing'. Apologies for my suckish examples If you were to walk into a store and say, "I want everything you have.
Or maybe if it is in that sentence, it almost sounds like it means more than one thing, but it shouldn't. Oops, please disregard "was just about to say Bad cut and paste. For instance, if I used anything, does is it stronger than using everything? As I understand it, "any" is used instead of "some" when forming a question or indicating a negative. The question "did you find anything" is more open ended - the answer could be "I found something" or "I didn't find anything".
Felix Jul Warsaw Will Jul Abootty Jul If that were true, you'd have to say "everything are plural". Elizabeth Doehring Mar Do you have a question? Submit your question here. Yes No. All Rights Reserved. Posted by melania Filed in Usage 20 comments Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter. will not be published.
Please comment here. Comments Sort by Oldest Latest Rating. Contrast that with "John is so out of his element in the kitchen: He can never find everything. Putting it another way, "anything" and "everything" are not synonymous, in any way. But dictionary definitions are less than clear: Anything any thing whatever : any such thing Everything all that exists; all that relates to the subject These are from Merriam-Webster Online. And, of course, the words, anything and everything, themselves, are singular.
I think :. As I understand it, "any" is used instead of "some" when forming a question or indicating a negative as in do you have any?
I have some I don't have any "Do you have some" is technically bad grammar. As is "I don't have some". I had to teach this class in TEFL. It is a head wreaker. Felix Jul 2 votes Permalink Report Abuse. Abootty Jul 0 vote Permalink Report Abuse.
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