any - definition and synonyms

adverb, determiner, pronoun 

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Any can be used in the following ways:
as a determiner (followed by a singular countable noun): It’s a puzzle that any intelligent child could solve. (followed by a plural or uncountable noun): Are there any biscuits left?He hasn’t got any money.
as a pronoun (without a following noun): I looked around for toilet paper, but there wasn’t any. (followed by ‘of’): Have you read any of his books?
as an adverb (usually followed by the comparative form of an adjective or adverb): Are you feeling any better?
Any is used especially in questions, in negative sentences, and in clauses with ‘if’: Is there any coffee left?There weren’t any complaints.I can lend you a map if that’s any help.
  1. 1
    [usually in negatives or questions] used instead of ‘some’ for saying or asking whether there is a small amount of something or a small number of people or things

    If you need any help, just let me know.

    I tried to get a ticket but there weren’t any left.

    any of:

    Did any of her friends come? all:

    Without any hesitation at all, Jane came forward to volunteer.

    few if any (=not many and possibly none):

    Few if any pianists have performed the Grieg concerto with such sensitivity.

  2. 2
    used when it is not important to say which person or thing you are referring to, because what you are saying applies to everyone or everything

    It’s a very simple test – any fool could pass it.

    If any member of the team was ill, Gary would take his place.

    any of:

    It was the first time that any of us had been in a plane.

    any other:

    The HCIMA card can be used in the same way as any other credit card.

    1. a.
      used when it is not important which person or thing you choose

      Pick any design you want – they’re all the same price.

  3. 3
    [always in negatives or questions] mainly American spoken used for emphasis after a verb to mean ‘at all’

    Have things improved any?