If you were to ask Harry what was in the bottle, he would tell you that it contained perfumed mud. If you expressed doubt or surprise, he would immediately invite you to smell it and then to rub some into your skin. This brief experiment would dispel any further doubts you might have.

Generally, the word after "any" is singular.Such as:

Any large American city is filled with restaurants serving international cooking.

Can anyone tell me why it uses the plural form? Does it mean that both singular or plural form are correct?

  • 1
    Both "any doubt" or "any doubts" are okay in your sentence, but that's only because doubt can be a mass noun. You need to use plural in the sentence "I will now collect any marbles you might have", and singular in the sentence "Any large American city is filled with restaurants". What I can't do is tell you why, which is why I'm not posting an answer. Commented Dec 15, 2013 at 20:26
  • This looks to me like a duplicate of the link in Damkerng's first comment - Singular or plural after “any”? Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 18:10
  • @FumbleFingers: That one would be about the general rule, but this is quite idiomatic - an exception.
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


This is pretty much idiomatic. Both are grammatically valid, but doubts tend to appear in bunches.

Have a look at the ngram:

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Various plural forms of "doubt" outweigh the singular "I have a doubt" by a significant margin. As result, if you counter that, you want to dispel all, or any doubts, not any single doubt someone may have, because they simply are more likely to have multiple ones.

Extra note on ngram wildcard use - if I use "I have * doubt" the results get totally overshadowed by "I have no doubt" leaving all the rest far behind. The second "I have little doubt" beats "I have my doubts" by a small margin, but is a positive too (meaning "I almost have no doubt"). Third, "I have some doubt" sits far below all plural doubts. Therefore, if you have any considerable doubts, you have them in plural. You can only have no singular doubt, or very little of it.

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