Anything and Any Thing
The Quick AnswerWhat is the difference between anything and any thing?
The pronoun anything means a thing of any kind. (Of note, the word anything is far more common than any thing.)
The two-word version (any thing) is used:
- When emphasizing you are referring to an object (as opposed to a person, animal, or idea). For example:
- You can hide the ball inside any thing. You cannot give it to a person.
- When there is another adjective between any and thing. For example:
- Tell me any little thing you like.
- When using things. For example:
- Any things left unattended will be removed.
Anything and Any ThingThere is often confusion over anything and any thing.
AnythingAnything (one word) is a pronoun that means a thing of any kind (i.e., a thing, no matter what it is).
- Positive anything is better than negative nothing. (Elbert Hubbard)
- When the sun is shining, I can do anything; no mountain is too high. (Wilma Rudolph)
- A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. (Albert Einstein)
Any ThingThe two-word version (any thing) is used to emphasize that you are referring to any object, as opposed to any person, animal, or idea.
- If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred. (Walt Whitman) (Any thing (two words) can often be substituted with any one thing.)
- You may not take pictures of people, but you can take a picture of any thing.
- Every movie is like a little company, and any little thing can ruin it. (Ryan Kavanaugh)