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As a non-native speaker, when I read the books about grammar,I observe that...

We usually use everything for a positive sentence and anything for a negative or interrogative sentence.

But I often see sentences in some magazines and articles, like "We'll do almost anything for our beloved animals."

What's the difference between them and is it changing the meaning in sentence?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There simply is a difference in meaning between the two words, and that difference in meaning explains also why they are more often used in specific situations.

Everything means "all things", whereas anything means "any one thing".

He will eat anything.

Whatever kind of food you give him, he will eat it. There are no things that he will not eat.

He will eat everything.

There will be no food left for others: he will eat all the food.

He will not eat anything.

There is not a single thing that he will eat -> he eats nothing.

He will not eat everything.

He will eat, but he will leave some food uneaten. (It may be that it is too much, it may be that he doesn't want to eat specific things.)

Will he eat everything?

You are asking if you will have any food left after he has finished eating.

Will he eat anything?

You are asking if he will be hungry.

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Nice answer, +1 for the content. Why don’t you use present: “You are asking if you have..” and “You are asking if he is hungry”? –  Lucian Sava Apr 17 at 7:42
    
If he will eat everything, you will not have any food left :). If you have no food left (present), he won;t be able to eat anything :). The second one could also have been in the present. I just assumed he had not yet arrived - "He is in the train to here now. Will he eat anything when he arrives?" He may or may not be hungry by the time he gets here, so I chose the future. Of course, present would be possible, but I would probably ask him directly: "Will you eat anything?" -> I'm asking if he is hungry :) –  oerkelens Apr 17 at 7:50
    
Sorry, no offense, but it doesn’t go like that: “If he will eat everything, you will not have any food left”, unless you want to question whether or not he wants to eat everything. So, the construction is not grammatically incorrect, just that it isn’t future there, it may mean anything else. –  Lucian Sava Apr 17 at 8:00
    
Actually it means “if he is willing to eat everything, you will not have any food left”. –  Lucian Sava Apr 17 at 8:09
    
You can make it as difficult as you like :) I tried to keep the sentences simple, and they can be interpreted in several ways. I just explained the situation as I saw it when I wrote it. If at any point in the future (indicated by "will he eat everything?) he eats everything, then in the future you will nothing left :). And "Will he eat?" does not just mean "Is he willing to eat". It usually simply means "Is it likely that at some point in the future we can say "he has eaten"". –  oerkelens Apr 17 at 8:30

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