Anything or Any Thing?

by Craig Shrives

The Difference between "Anything" and "Any thing"

"Anything" and "any thing" are easy to confuse because they sound identical.
  • "Anything" means a thing of any kind. It is similar in meaning to "something." For example:
    • I cannot see anything.
    • Is there anything you need?
  • "Any thing" is a rare term. It is used to emphasize that 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.

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More about "Anything" and "Any Thing"

Anything

"Anything" (one word) is a pronoun that means a thing of any kind (i.e., a thing, no matter what it is).

Examples of "anything" in sentences:
  • Positive anything is better than negative nothing. (Author Elbert Hubbard)
  • When the sun is shining, I can do anything; no mountain is too high. (Athlete Wilma Rudolph)
  • A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. (Physicist Albert Einstein)

Any Thing

The two-word version ("any thing") is used to emphasize that you are referring to any object, as opposed to any person, animal, or idea.

Examples of "any thing" in sentences:
  • If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred. (Poet 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.
In the term "any thing," "any" is an indefinite adjective modifying the noun "thing." If there are any other adjectives modifying "thing," then you need "any thing" not "anything."

Example:
  • He blurts any related thing that comes into his head.
  • Every movie is like a little company, and any little thing can ruin it. (Businessmen Ryan Kavanaugh)
There is no such word as "anythings." Therefore, if "things" is plural, then you need "any things." For example:
  • Any things left unattended will be removed.
anything or any thing difference
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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? How to write "dos and don'ts" who's or whose? Glossary of easily confused words Glossary of common errors Glossary of grammatical terms What are adjectives? What are indefinite adjectives?

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