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Can someone help explain if "anyone" or "everyone" should be used in the following sentence?

We enable ____ to do anything.

Though English is my second language, I've been speaking and writing it for many years and feel that "anyone" is the correct word to use here, though my colleagues feel more strongly for "everyone". However, I can't explain why I disagree exactly.

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    If it's a firm offering some kind of service, I agree that anyone is better. They can help any person who asks for their services, but they can't expect to help everyone in the town. Commented Mar 5 at 10:16
  • @KateBunting - also, people who make up slogans for organisations love repetition, so We enable anyone to do anything seems preferable. Given that they aren't meant to be taken literally (they can't, I am fairly sure, enable my blind cousin to see, or enable me to fly), I think We enable everyone to do everything isn't all that crazy. Commented Mar 5 at 10:54

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Both are grammatically correct.

"Anyone" is 'any person at all', and "everyone" is 'every person'.
A good way to tell them apart is to think about the difference between "does anyone have the right time?" and "does everyone have the right time?" (or, to get a sense of the difference between 'any' and 'every', "we enable everyone to do anything" and "we enable everyone to do everything").

So choosing which one is a better fit depends on what you want the phrase to emphasize. What is this slogan/motto for, what is the context? Do you focus on specific individuals, or on helping large(r) groups of people?

(It's quite a claim, in either case!)

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  • Great answer. Thanks for the example. Just to be sure: is it then valid to write We enable everyone to do anything? For context, the sentence is related to enabling people to move anything and not just generically to anything. I was just generalising a bit :D
    – Lasse
    Commented Mar 5 at 10:26
  • @Lasse "We enable everyone to move anything" addresses people as a whole, whereas "We enable anyone to move anything" focuses on an individual. But I think the latter has a slightly "needy" vibe, as if begging for clientele ("is there anyone who wants this?"). I think the first is the more appropriate one, yes. (By the way, it's usually better to include as much information as you can in your question, so that the answers you get are as explicit as possible. Context is very important.)
    – Joachim
    Commented Mar 5 at 10:36
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    And also consider using "you"; "we enable you ..".
    – Joachim
    Commented Mar 5 at 10:41
  • Good point. Thanks for explaining
    – Lasse
    Commented Mar 5 at 10:43
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    A service that's used by nearly everyone (maybe in a certain geographical area) might say "we enable everyone to..." or "we feed/help/serve everyone..." etc. For instance Google or Transport for London. But most firms couldn't claim that.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 5 at 11:26

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