1.There is no woman who does not like a flower.

2.There is no woman who does not like flowers.

Are these two sentences the same in meaning?

I prefer no.2 as I think it means generalisation of all kinds of flowers.

2 Answers 2


They are slightly different in meaning. When using an indefinite article for a generic reference, you are picking out any representative member of the class mentioned. Thus, in the former, you are referring to any type of flowers.

In the latter, however, the zero article with the plural noun indentifies the class considered as an undifferentiated whole. Thus, you are right, it's used when you are referring to all kinds of flowers.

  • 1
    Depending on the context, "flowers" can also mean a bouquet given as a gift. "Even though chocolates in heart-shaped boxes are in all the stores on Valentines day, many women prefer flowers."
    – ColleenV
    Jul 25, 2017 at 17:07

I'm not a native speaker but the first one, "There is no woman who does not like a flower" sounds incomplete without further context to me and I would never say that without mentioning further context.

I would use a singular case only in sentences like:

  • I don't know any woman who wouldn't accept a present for her birthday. (Any present but just one)
  • There isn't a car that doesn't have an engine. (A car should have at least one engine)

When we speak about something in general, meaning any or whatever, we use the plural form:

  • I like flowers (I like any flower, whatever flowers exist)
  • I don't like biscuits (any biscuit, i don't like them in general)

I would also rephrase your sentence to:

  • There isn't a woman who doesn't like flowers.

Consider replacing flowers with roses for instance:

  • There isn't a woman who doesn't like roses. (the kind of flower in general) - Roses are a flower.
  • What do you mean by further context? And why do you use 'roses' instead of 'flowers'? Jul 25, 2017 at 14:14

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