1

I read stuff here http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/rules/article.htm

5. You use a plural count noun with no article if you mean all or any of that thing.

This is how I interpreted it :

  1. I don't like dogs. ( I don't like a chihuahua, a bulldog, a golden retriever , etc)

  2. Do they have children? (a Girl or a Boy kid)

But what the difference when we use any for example?

like :

  1. I don't like any dogs.

Thanks.

3

any has several meanings. Two of them are:

Do you have any sugar? - any means an indefinite quantity

You can choose any pizza - any means "it doesn't matter which".

Looking at your first example:

I like dogs. - We are using the plural of dogs to mean "dogs in general"

I like all dogs - By adding all we really mean "all dogs". It's emphatic.

I don't like dogs - Back to "dogs in general"

I don't like any dogs - any means "it doesn't matter which"- It's emphatic.

You can emphasise both sentences further by adding "at all", though the second sentence, with double emphasis, is uncommon.

I don't like dogs at all

I don't like any dogs at all

With the second example, children, we are talking about an indefinite quantity. This meaning does not give any emphasis, so there is no difference between these two sentences:

Do they have children?

Do they have any children?

The reply could be one of the following: again, "any" does not have an emphatic effect, so there is no difference between the two negatives.

Yes, I have children

Yes, I have x children

No, I don't have children

No, I don't have any children

You can make the negative sentences emphatic by adding "at all" as we did with the previous example:

No, I don't have any children at all.

2

One use of any in a negative statement is to emphasize that there are no exceptions. Whether you say not any or you put the not before a verb, not plus any is an emphatic no (see the section Not Any and No.

Without any, the sentence below is a general statement:

I don't like dogs.

This means I don't like dogs in general -- but there may be one or two dogs that I do like. They would be exceptions to the rule.

With any, the sentence is absolute:

I don't like any dogs. This means that there is not one single dog that I like.

1

When used before plural count nouns, “any” has the meaning of the indefinite article before singular count nouns.

-1

any means an indefinite quantity. I don't like any dogs - “any" means "it doesn't matter which dog."

Do they have children? Do they have any children? We are talking about an indefinite quantity.

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