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Which is correct:

  1. I won't work for you under just any conditions simply to make ends meet. Some requirements will have to be met regarding the workplace before I start work.

  2. I won't work for you under any conditions simply to make ends meet. Some requirements will have to be met regarding the workplace before I start work.

I think the 'just' is necessary. Without it, the first sentence seems to say that there is no way I will work for you. However, I wonder if one cannot save to by putting a lot of emphasis on 'any'. Maybe if it is heavily accentuated the sentence would work in this context?

I have received contradictory responses to this question. Some seem to think that (b) works, and some even seem to prefer it to (a). Some seem to think that the 'just' is absolutely necessary and even a strong emphasis on 'any' won't solve the problem.

It is true that the context clarifies things, but I am simply thinking about the grammar.

1 Answer 1

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You are correct both ways.

"Just" is not an emphasizer here; it fundamentally changes the meaning of the sentence:

I won't do it under any conditions means I will not do it at all, ever.

I won't do it under just any conditions means I will not do it for all conditions, but under some specific conditions I will.

But it is also true that, when speaking, you can leave out the "just" and put a lot of emphasis on "any" and the same meaning will come across. I would say it's better to be clear and keep it in.

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