1

I am at school and I want to know if any students passed the maths exam this year. Which of the following sentence should I use? And which one sounds more natural?

Here are the examples:

  1. Did any students pass the maths exam this year?
  2. Did any student pass the maths exam this year?
  3. Did any of the students pass the maths exam this year?

One more question, does the first sentence mean the same as the second sentence? Could native speakers please answer my question?

3
  • They are all correct and mean the same thing. The second one, however, can be used somewhat sarcastically: "No one passed this exam. Hey, did any single student pass? I didn't think so." But they all mean the same thing regardless and can be used as equivalents. The first means the same as the second also.
    – Nick
    Nov 23, 2017 at 17:23
  • This is also a little off-topic, but the British say "maths" and the Americans say "math". Just thought I'd let you know just in case you see it written "math".
    – Nick
    Nov 23, 2017 at 17:24
  • I agree that all three are correct, but number 3 is only usable in certain contexts. If you're talking to the teacher who administered the exam, then all three choices are fine. If you're standing in front of a group of students and asking for people to raise their hands if they passed, then 1 or 2 both work, but 3 would not. Nov 23, 2017 at 17:30

3 Answers 3

2

All three sentences are OK. The difference is not really relevant.

Depending on the context, they can be used to imply that nobody passed the exam, or that it is a miracle that somebody passed.

If you want to avoid the double meaning, you can ask:

How many students passed the maths exam this year?

1

Did any students pass the maths exam this year?

This is natural if you're optimistic and think some students passed the exam.

Did any student pass the maths exam this year?

This is natural if you're pessimistic and think no students passed the exam.

Did any of the students pass the maths exam this year?

Of the is typically not necessary, but it's not wrong to include.

Any of the X, Y is used if there's a possibility that a group different than X would Y.

Did any of the teachers go home or was it just the students (both teachers and students possibly could have gone home)

It'd be unusual for a group other than students to need to take exams, so you don't really need the of the.

-2

This question is similar to another question that was also asked on this site.

Personally, I would prefer sentences 2 and 3 since they sound more natural and less stilted. However, all the sentences are grammatically correct since subject verb agreement rules apply to both questions and statements.

Both sentences 2 and 3 have the same meaning. They can be rephrased as “Did any one student out of all the students pass the Maths exam this year?” so if even 1 student passed the exam, the answer to those questions would be ‘yes’.

Sentence 1’s meaning is slightly different. It can be rephrased as “Did more than one student out of all the students pass the Maths exam this year?”. If more than one student passed the exam, the answer to this question would be ‘yes’.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .