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"is there any difference between ..." or "are there any differences between ...", which one sound more natural? I searched both in Google Books and both have a lot of results.

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  • Both 'sound natural'. The first asks about uncountable difference (the fact of being different) and the second asks about countable differences. Aug 25, 2022 at 5:55
  • @MichaelHarvey could you give me an example of what uncountable difference and countable difference are? I'm sorry I don't quite understand. Aug 25, 2022 at 6:00

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We use a singular form when we mean or expect one difference. This could be a difference of nature.

Is there a/any difference between these balls?
One is red and the other blue
One is wooden and the other made of rubber

Is there a/any difference between these two ropes?
One is thicker than the other.
One is made of nylon, and the other is made of natural fibre.

We use a plural form when we expect that there are (or may be) multiple differences.

Are there any differences between these pictures?
One has more people, fewer cars, and a cloudier sky than the other.

Are there any differences between these models of the same car?
One has air conditioning, a radio, and heated seats. The other does not, and is cheaper.

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  • Thanks for the answer Michael! So for the same question, if the questioner is expecting only one difference, he can use "is there a difference". If he is expecting multiple differences, he can use "are there any differences", even if there is actually only one difference, right? Aug 25, 2022 at 7:01
  • If the questioner is unsure which form to use, they can use either form. Aug 25, 2022 at 7:03
  • Thank you! Btw, is is there any difference between correct? I noticed you are using is there a difference.... But I found a lot of "is there any difference" use cases in Google Books. google.com/… Aug 25, 2022 at 7:05
  • You can use either. Aug 25, 2022 at 7:09

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