I have seen this pair of words several times and could roughly catch the meanings in the contexts encountered. However, I do not understand properly and hence can't use it.

What does 'if any' really mean? How to use it?

Eg: The effects of the bans on markets, if any, are negative.

I appreciate a lot if some examples can be provide to help understanding.

Thank you.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jul 31 '14 at 23:41

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  • Please add a couple examples of how you've seen it used. The word pair can mean different things in different contexts. – J.R. Jul 31 '14 at 23:43

Many times, this expression used after an already stated quantity (usually a small one) to further emphasize the unlikelihood of something by using hyperbole. Other times, to refer simply to a noun.

Examples: Sally is only able to have two of those candies, if any (at all). I don't think I've ever had more than three conversations with him, if any (at all). Her feelings, if any, were not shown.

-It is used as a continuation to an already mentioned noun - and, in so doing, it takes the same verb associated with that noun

Examples (based on the above sentences): Sally is able to have two of those candies, if (She is able to have) any. I don't think I've ever had more than three conversations with him, if (I've had) any (with him). Her feelings. If (she has) any (at all), were not shown.

Hope this helps!


Think of if any replaced by if there are any and see if this makes any sense. Summary: The first part of the sentence is assumed to exist. The 'if any' basically implies the first part to be zero instances, but just in case it's greater than zero (any), the rest of the statement applies.

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