2

Which ones are grammatically correct out of the following sentences:

Do you know any famous person?

Do you know any famous people?

Do you do any physical activity for staying in shape?

Do you do any physical activities for staying in shape?

I am not sure but I remember reading that we should use plural forms with any in affirmative sentences. If we accept this rule as correct, can we apply this rule to questions in which the word any is used?

  • The activity/activities sentences need a remark: activity has two usages, one as a countable noun, and one as the other kind (like water or sand). Therefore, although you'd have to try pretty hard to construct a situation where you could use your Sentence #1, your Sentence #3 AND your Sentence #4 are both good. – aparente001 Apr 18 '15 at 18:50
  • the other kind = uncountable? :) – virolino Feb 5 at 12:38
2

While in some contexts, "know any famous person" or "do any physical activity" could be used, the non-standard structure would be being used as emphasis, and in dialogue. ("Okay, we've got to find someone who'll endorse our product. Joe knows a rockstar, and Jane knows three politicians and a movie star. How about you, Chris? Do you know any famous person?")

But even in such contrived circumstances, it would not be incorrect to use the plural forms, and would sound more natural in general, so I'd advise using them by default. I can't think of many contexts which pair "any" with a singular noun.

(One possible exception: any place. E.g., "Is there any place that's not closed on Thanksgiving? We don't have any power to cook at home!")

  • Thank you for your answer.It just came to mind that can we say that if we expect/want more than one we should use plural form? – Mrt Feb 16 '15 at 23:21
  • Yes, sort of. In the case of your third example, "physical activity" can be either specific or general. It can refer to a specific activity or to activity in general (as opposed to no activity at all). So this particular usage is correct, even though "activity" is technically single. – WhatRoughBeast Feb 17 '15 at 1:03
  • You confused me! Which IS the correct form? – virolino Feb 5 at 12:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.