Any or No

Any and no

Which one is correct?

1. Should we use a plural or singular noun after the word “no”?

e.g.  I have no brothers OR

I have no brother.

If the noun is countable, do we put plural,

if uncountable, do we put singular?

What about these examples,

“I have no idea”, “No comment”

(Idea and comment are countable nouns. How do you explain this?)

2. Should we use a plural or singular noun after “any”?

e.g. I don’t have any brothers OR

I don’t have any brother.

I am aware of another usage of “any” which means “normal, ordinary”. 

e.g. She isn’t just any woman.

1. Whether or not we use a singular or plural noun after “no” depends on a number of factors. When we are making a statement using “no” as a determiner, we usually use a plural or uncountable noun after “no”,

As in the sentence,

“I have no brothers.”, or

 “There is no bread left in the shop.”

However, there are times when “no” as a determiner is followed by a singular countable noun, especially when what is not there can only be a single person or thing,

e.g. “She has no husband.”

(She can’t have more than one at a time!) or

“There is no television in the sitting room.”

(There’s usually only one television in a sitting room).

“I have no idea” and “no comment”

However, are idioms, and they aren’t bound by the usual rules. The first is an emphatic way of saying “I don’t know.” and the second a way of telling a journalist “I have nothing to say.”

2. When “any” refers to an amount or number, it is used in a negative sentence or question, and followed by a plural or uncountable noun,

 As in the sentence

 “I don’t have any brothers.”, or

“Have you any brothers?” or

“We have no homework this weekend.” or

“Have you any homework this weekend?”

However, when “any” means “it doesn’t matter which person/people, animal(s) or thing(s)”, it can be used with any noun: singular or plural countable nouns, or uncountable nouns, in affirmative or negative sentences or in questions,

e.g.“Choose any kitten you like, and I’ll give it to you.” or

“Answer any four questions in this section.” or

“I’m willing to do any work that pays enough.” or

“I don’t like any executive in this company.” or

“Are you willing to work in any town?”



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