Anything or Any Thing?

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Anything or Any Thing?

What is the difference between "anything" and "any thing"?
  • "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" (which is rare) is used when you need 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.
anything or any thing difference

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:
  • 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:
  • 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.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

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? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? Glossary of easily confused words Glossary of common errors Glossary of grammatical terms What are adjectives? What are indefinite adjectives?