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This question already has an answer here:

I have provided some sentences below. What's the difference between "if a" and "if any" in the sentences. I think all of them are correct and mean the same thing. I don't know what the difference is. I always use them interchangeably in this kind of context. Can someone please tell me how I should choose the correct word?

1- If a/any student is found smoking in the classroom, he or she will be suspended from the school.

2- As per the new tax law, If a/any house is situated in a metropolitan city, 15 percent tax will be charged on the value of it.

marked as duplicate by choster, Varun Nair, Andrew, Catija, shin Nov 12 '17 at 7:32

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  • It seems to me that in each of those examples, there's no change in meaning if we replace "a" with "any," and no change in formality or correctness. – Chaim Nov 9 '17 at 19:56
  • In your examples, I'd write "if any student" but "if a house". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 10 '17 at 10:39
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Consider the difference between these two statements:

If any man leaves his platoon without express written permission of the ranking officer, he shall be shot for desertion.

If a man has more than he needs, let him share it with one who has less.

The first one might be paraphrased, "It doesn't matter who you are, if you violate this rule, you're dead." The rule applies to everyone.

The second one might be paraphrased, "If there is someone who has more than he needs, let him share with someone who has less than he needs." The exhortation applies to no one in particular.

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