I know that the word 'any' can be used with plural and singular nouns depending on the location of the word 'any', however, I feel using the plural noun following my sample sentence is incorrect.

The university forbids students to smoke in any buildings.

I think the 's' in "building" is unnecessary. Can someone comment and explain this please?

  • 2
    It's definitely unnecessary, but I don't think it's incorrect. May 23, 2016 at 21:09
  • Negative polarity "any", like "no", is compatible with both singular and plural nouns. So I don't think this is incorrect. But "The university forbids smoking in all buildings" or "Smoking is forbidden in all university buildings" would be simpler.
    – nschneid
    Aug 14, 2023 at 1:21
  • It might be intended to be emphatic (no smoking anywhere throughout all buildings), although it certainly doesn't mean anything different.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 14, 2023 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


I would use "any buildings" only where the context implied that it could refer to one or more than one building at the same time; for example:

Give me the names of any buildings over four storeys high.

But you can smoke in only one building at a time, so I would unhesitatingly say:

The university forbids students to smoke in any building


Because building is a countable noun, you should use the plural form of it after ANY.


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