When looking up the word "a" in a dictionary, I find this explanation.


If the a here is equal to any, then what's the difference in meaning (or nuance) between:

  1. I simply haven't a thing to wear.


  2. I simply haven't any thing(anything) to wear.

1 Answer 1


I haven't a thing is more emphatic. It can be interpreted as I don't have even one (single) thing.

I simply haven't any thing(anything) is more neutral. It only states the lack of possession.

  • Thanks for your answer. One more question: Which word should be stressed in I haven't a thing. in this context while speaking?
    – preachers
    Aug 12, 2021 at 12:17
  • 1
    There's stress on haven't and then on thing.
    – fev
    Aug 12, 2021 at 12:25

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