Why cannot we use the word "anywhere" in positive sentences whereas the words "anybody" and "anything" work the similar positive structures.

For example

We can say :

  1. I can do anything I want.

  2. Anybody/anyone can solve this question.

But we cannot say :

  1. I lost my key. It could be anywhere in the house.( I mean : It could be in the kitchen, in the bedroom or garden)

  2. I dropped my earring in the plane so literally it could be anywhere in the world.(I mean : Since a plane flies to different countries )

This following definition confused me:

used in negative sentences and in questions instead of somewhere

I don't have anywhere to stay.

Do you know anywhere I can buy a second-hand computer?


  • 2
    Please elaborate on "we cannot say". Why?
    – user3169
    Apr 17, 2016 at 15:55
  • 2
    Sentences 3 and 4 are fine. You could also say "I can go anywhere I want.", which is the parallel of sentence 1.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 17, 2016 at 16:10
  • I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Are you thinking of nowhere – anywhere, for example, as in You're going nowhere! – You're not going anywhere! That's all to do with linguistics: polarity item Apr 17, 2016 at 16:12
  • 1
    The Oxford dictionary has only one section, and it is labelled as you described. The Cambridge dictionary has two sections, the other one covering a broader range of usages. If you look for the corresponding definitions for anything and anyone in the Cambridge dictionary, you will find that they also have two sections. If you want to know what is the difference between these two sections, I would suggest doing a bit of research and then writing a new question about what you don't understand.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 17, 2016 at 16:56
  • 1
    @JavaLatte The confusion I think arises because the definition of the pronoun form and the adverb form of anywhere are separated. I think this should not be closed. We can look at the quoted definition and have an idea of why it's confusing.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 18, 2016 at 4:13

2 Answers 2


But we CAN use it!

"Any" and the indefinite pronouns formed with it can be used in affirmative sentences with a meaning that is close to every: whichever person, whichever place, whichever thing, etc.


They can choose anything from the menu.

You may invite anybody you want to your birthday party.

We can go anywhere you'd like this summer.

He would give anything to get that job.

Her dog would follow her anywhere.


What do you mean? We literally can use it that way. Your examples of how we "can't use it" are literally grammatically correct.

"My keys could be anywhere" is a real and correct sentence.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .