'Any' as a Pronoun - Sometimes Singular and Sometimes Plural


Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: 'Any' as a Pronoun - Sometimes Singular and Sometimes Plural

  1. #1
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Grantham, Lincolnshire - home of Isaac Newton and some woman whose name I've forgotten
    Posts
    794

    'Any' as a Pronoun - Sometimes Singular and Sometimes Plural

    Hello Folks

    Attention Grammar Cops, here's one for you:

    According to a couple of references I've found, while 'anyone' and 'anybody' are always singular pronouns, 'any' can be either singular or plural. So:

    In 'anyone who either hates or fears him,' 'anyone' is clearly singular. No problem.

    In 'anybody who either hates or fears him,'anybody' is clearly singular. Still no problem.

    Now what about 'any who either hates or fears him,' that sounds slightly awkward in the singular, while 'any who either hate or fear him,' sounds better in the plural?

    I'm confused about why I should choose one over the other.

    Please help.

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post
    Hello Folks

    Attention Grammar Cops, here's one for you:

    According to a couple of references I've found, while 'anyone' and 'anybody' are always singular pronouns, 'any' can be either singular or plural. So:

    In 'anyone who either hates or fears him,' 'anyone' is clearly singular. No problem.

    In 'anybody who either hates or fears him,'anybody' is clearly singular. Still no problem.

    Now what about 'any who either hates or fears him,' that sounds slightly awkward in the singular, while 'any who either hate or fear him,' sounds better in the plural?

    I'm confused about why I should choose one over the other.

    Please help.

    Thanks in advance.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    I'm not sure that I can help but I will give my observations.

    Firstly, 'any who either hates or fears him,' sounds very wrong to me as well but 'any who either hate or fear him,' sounds right. So I agree with you about those, though I'm not clear exactly why. I'm thinking 'collective pronoun', whatever that may mean.

    You also wrote
    In 'anyone who either hates or fears him,' 'anyone' is clearly singular. No problem.

    In 'anybody who either hates or fears him,'anybody' is clearly singular. Still no problem.
    I'm not so clear on this part. Although 'anyone' and 'anybody' do use the third person singular, in speech in the UK, they can also be regarded as plural. That may well be colloquial though.
    All I can offer as an explanation for this latter part is that much of English is derived from Germanic routes and the German word for 'anyone' is jemand - which (I think) can be regarded as singular or plural.
    Perhaps it's a bit like 'one' as in: "One may eat either fish or meat." (for example). In this sense 'one' can mean 'people' and may be regarded as singular or plural. This may possibly derive from Germanic language too. In German it would be: Mann kann (One may). Mann can also mean 'man', but not in this context.
    I hope I haven't made it even more confusing but hey, at least I tried

  3. #3
    Any can be treated as singular or plural - like sheep or fish - so it's all down to the context the writer intends.

    Any is also specifically used for indefinite or uncountable numbers. It can at the same time mean one, some, most, or all, indeed any combination of parts within the whole of a thing or measure. In these situations, it is usually treated as singular.

    Any is also the plural or indeterminate indefinite article where a or an is the singular indefinite article, and that's why treating it as an undefined collective - like sheep or fish - often feels more comfortable. In these situations, it is usually treated as plural.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  4. #4
    Grammar Cops?!
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. Steven Wright

  5. #5
    Member RhythmOvPain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    The Hall of Olden Dreams
    Posts
    1,092
    Blog Entries
    62
    Any whom.

    /_GGnore
    My favorite word in the English language is "shenanigans." My favorite thing to do is cause them.

    Smoke weed everyday.

  6. #6
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Grantham, Lincolnshire - home of Isaac Newton and some woman whose name I've forgotten
    Posts
    794
    Hello Folks

    @Ppsage: Here at WF we have really nice and helpful Grammar Cops.

    @Rhythm: This is a tricky one. The test I use is whether the object is acted upon: 'to whom should she turn?' or is acting: 'anyone who either hates or fears.' I think we need to recognize this is changing in English as we speak and today nobody - well, hardly anybody - is castigated for using 'who' when the strictest rules of grammar require the use of 'whom'. I try to use 'whom' according to my test but if I'm in doubt or it sounds really awkward, I use 'who'.

    Thanks for your help.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

  7. #7
    Member RhythmOvPain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    The Hall of Olden Dreams
    Posts
    1,092
    Blog Entries
    62
    Whom is the only inception of the word "who" that implies more than one entity:

    He who
    Those whom

    Although judging by this article I'm reading, they're saying who relates to he/she and whom relates to him/her in a possessive fashion.

    Frankly I'm starting to say screw it. There are plenty of other ways to word a sentence to take into account the rules.

    If it sounds wrong, don't use it. Say "any person" or "persons."

    "Any individual" or "any people."

    Any soul?
    My favorite word in the English language is "shenanigans." My favorite thing to do is cause them.

    Smoke weed everyday.

  8. #8
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Grantham, Lincolnshire - home of Isaac Newton and some woman whose name I've forgotten
    Posts
    794
    Hello Rhythm

    You're probably right.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RhythmOvPain View Post
    Whom is the only inception of the word "who" that implies more than one entity:

    He who
    Those whom
    Sorry, what? Where did this ... interesting ... interpretation come from?


    Although judging by this article I'm reading, they're saying who relates to he/she and whom relates to him/her in a possessive fashion.
    mostly correct, but it's not the possessive - that's whose - it's the objective.

    who is a subjective pronoun, like he, she - whom is an objective pronoun, like him, her.

    What that means is who does something, but something is done to whom.

    ETA: In the plural, the comparisons are with they (=who) or them (=whom).
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RhythmOvPain View Post
    Whom is the only inception of the word "who" that implies more than one entity:

    He who
    Those whom
    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post

    who is a subjective pronoun, like he, she - whom is an objective pronoun, like him, her.

    What that means is who does something, but something is done to whom.

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I always suggest something like:

    Who (did it / is responsible?) - he, she (did / is)
    To (a matter of being addressed) whom (is responsible?) - him, her !!!!

    A way to remember where the m's go.

    I could go for some M&M's.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.