what is difference between the two following sentences? And which one is grammatical?

1- If there is a car in the garden, it will be towed away.

2- If there is any  car in the garden, it will be towed away.

Please note that I am making a general statement and thinking of just one car.


"a" is an article meaning "one of something":

I have one book; therefore, I have a book.

"any" is an adjective meaning "some, no matter how many or how few there may be". It is often used in questions:

Are there any books in your bag? (Question)

Yes, there are some books in my bag. (Answer)

It is also used in statements to replace the adjective "some" in negative statements:

I haven't any money in my pocket. (negated: haven't = have not)

I have some money in my pocket. (positive)

I hope this might have helped you out. Should you have any more questions, feel free to ask and I shall try to answer. Take care and good luck!

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  • Thank you Nick, your answer is great. So are both the above sentences correct? – user256007 Jan 8 '18 at 8:58
  • @user256007, both are not correct. see my answer – Kailash Chandra Polai Jan 8 '18 at 14:15
  • Yes, your examples are fine. Using "were" and "would", rather than what you've used above, makes the statement contrary to fact in the present. Using "was" is not correct in Kailash's example above; however, it is such a common error among native speakers that I am not going to belabor it right now. – Nick Jan 8 '18 at 18:22
  • Sorry, but your answer is correct but this sentence: "If there is any car in the garden, it will be towed away". is not. Nick's own answer says: any books with an s. The OP's question would therefore have to be: any cars with an s. "Is there any car" is not grammatical. Are there any cars in the garden? – Lambie May 12 '19 at 15:39

In addition to Nick's answer,

None of the following sentences are grammatically correct excluding the concept of "a" or "any", the sentences have grammatical mistakes.

1- If there is a car in the garden, it will be towed away.

2- If there is any car in the garden, it will be towed away.

The sentences should be as below.

1- If there was a car in the garden, it would be towed away.

2- If there were any car in the garden, it would be towed away.

Because when we say "IF" its imaginary which does not have any tense. so "is" and "are" should be replaced by "was" and "were" respectively.

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  • 2
    This actually is not correct. The original sentences show one type of condition (known sometimes as 1st Conditional or predictive condition) which indicates the consequences of probable future events. Your sentences are 2nd Conditional which describe hypothetical/counterfactual events. – eques Jan 8 '18 at 16:56
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    Actually, his are correct if we should be talking about a possible statement. Using "were" puts it in the past subjunctive mood and makes it counterfactual in the present. "was" is completely wrong there; however, native speakers often say it that way because they never listened in school. – Nick Jan 8 '18 at 18:20
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    I think there is no Future events/time/tense. If Future does not exist then no question of Future events. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/152884/… it could be simple present like "if it happens then .." – Kailash Chandra Polai Jan 8 '18 at 18:20
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    First off, he's asking about "a" and "any"; not the verbs. Second, it depends on the grammarian whether the future tense exists or not. The sentence is fine: If there is a car in the garden, it will be towed away" means "Should there be a car in the garden, you had better move it because it's going to be towed away." See my answer here about your subjunctive issues: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/152855/…. I have links to two more answers on my answer there. – Nick Jan 8 '18 at 18:28
  • any cars, with an s. or a car. any car is not grammatical. Period. – Lambie May 12 '19 at 15:42

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