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Are the following sentences correct?

  • I don't have a book except this one.

  • I don't have any books except this one.

I think both are correct. Could any native speakers please answer the question.

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  • 2
    I like this version better than either of yours: I don't have any book except this one.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 19:42

2 Answers 2

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The second form "I don't have any books except this one" is the correct one.

The speaker is claiming that they have no books, apart from the one indicated. Therefore it is right to use "any" rather than "a".

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Only the second sentence is correct.

The phrase 'a book' means that there is only 1 book. Therefore, the first sentence "I don't have a book except this one" can also be expressed as "I don't have 1 book except this 1 book" which doesn't really make sense.

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