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I want to ask about this specific construction:

Do you see any error message?
Do you see any error messages?

Are they both grammatically correct? My grammar book says that any should only be used with uncountable or plural nouns.

However, from Is “any” also used with plurals?, the top answer says that it still depends on context. I also checked the related thread and they all say the same. “Any requirement” or “any requirements” and Any individual or any individuals?

Can the first one mean error message if there is already a specific error message in mind?
While the send one can mean any error message?

The problem is, I cannot find grammar books or webpages that says that this is allowed.

Finally, from Any (Learner's Dictionary), I can see that any was used with singular nouns. You haven't eaten any salad. You can return the product if any defect appears within the first six months.

They are all normal sentences though. Do any have different rules when in questions?

Thank you.

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  • It would depend on what is expected. If only one error message may come up, but it is uncertain as to what the message would be, 'any message' is appropriate. If a number of undefined error messages could come up, 'any messages' is more appropriate. – marcellothearcane Mar 30 '17 at 12:05
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    The answer is any! We can use singular, plural and uncountable nouns with any. See (dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/quantifiers/…) – mahmud koya Mar 30 '17 at 12:37
  • You will rarely find a dictionary or grammar that will tell you that something is allowed. Generally you should assume it's allowed, especially if a native speaker says it. As for any, aside from its being a negative polarity item (so it's OK in questions, if-clauses, and negatives, but not otherwise: *I have any money), any is just a quantifier like some or many or all, and has about the same number of restrictions and idioms as any other quantifier -- i.e, it gets very complicated. – John Lawler Mar 30 '17 at 18:49

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