According to Cambridge dictionary, any can mean more than one:

Any or every?

We use any and every to talk about the total numbers of things in a group. Their meanings are not exactly the same:

Any doctor can prescribe medicine. (or Every doctor can …)

Every always refers to the total number of something. Any refers to one, several or all of a total number. We use every not any with singular countable nouns when we mean ‘each individual member of a group of something’.

Then, can I consider "take any book you want" means I can get more than one book?

  • 1
    I'd assume it meant just one book only because I've heard that statement frequently when I was in elementary school, and it just about always turned out they just meant one. But as Lorel C. suggested, it was important to me so I asked for clarification, otherwise I could only guess what they'd meant.
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 5:36

2 Answers 2


"Take any book you want" means you are free to choose whichever book you want, there are no restrictions, but in my opinion it means one book. Otherwise I'd say "take any books you want".

Sometimes "any" means something else, for example: if you say "any fool can…" it means that something is very easy. "Any doctor can prescribe medication" to me sounds a bit negative, like you don't need to be a good doctor to prescribe medication. "Every doctor can prescribe medication" on the other hand, is neutral, it is a fact that prescribing medication is part of any doctor's job.


Some people would probably argue over whether that was an invitation to take more than one book -- or only one.

Myself, I think the wording "any _______ you want" is completely neutral on the question of: one? or more?

Even if they thought they knew the answer, most people would be uncertain enough to ask for clarification if the issue were important.

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