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What is the difference between "each" and "any" (or which should be used) in sentences like:

Tick each item you want to buy

Tick any item you want to buy

Tick some items you want to buy

For each desired item select a color

For any desired item select a color

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The meaning is clear in all given examples.
I would use each in both sets.
It has a greater implication that someone should not only indicate "any" one item or "some" desired items, but rather indicate every item s/he wants to buy, as if this form is their only remaining opportunity to express those wishes. (Even if it isn't, implying that it might be is a common tactic for selling more.)

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The significant difference is that "any" means "one, no difference which", where as "each" means, "all of them, one by one". In the request to "tick" (indicate) the item[s] the user wants to purchase, "any" would perhaps not be limited to a single item, so the user could choose to "tick" all or several such items. The "each" indicates essentially a request to "tick" all of the items the user has in mind.

Tick some items you want to buy

makes a suggestion to the user to select any or all items, and there is no specific criteria given, so the user can use their own judgement (or just be random) in the choosing.

Same difference in the meaning (between "each" and "any") exists in the latter two sentences.

It is necessary to mention that "any" can be used with a singular (like in your examples) or with plural nouns. The use with a singular noun limits the choice to only one item, if plural is employed, the number of items is not limited to one; it can be one, none, or even all of them.

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  • Then it seems each is more suitable! I want to say do something for each item you intended to select. – Ahmad Aug 23 '15 at 13:01

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