What’s the difference between every and any?
We use any and every to talk generally about items in a group. Although these words are easily confused, they have different meanings: every refers to all items in a group, while any can refer to some of a group or can refer to one, random element of the group. Read on to learn all the differences between every and any, then practise what you’ve learned in the exercises.
- in a positive sentence, any means whichever
- We were allowed to choose any sweet we wanted.
this sweet or that sweet or the other sweet
- in a negative sentence, any means none at all or not one
- She doesn’t know any people in her building.
- not one person
- She doesn’t eat any fruit.
- not apples, not oranges, no fruit at all
- we can form indefinite pronouns with any to refer to unknown or unspecified people or things.
- anybody/anyone = whichever person
- anything = whichever individual item or items
- anywhere = whichever place
- any time = whichever time
- every refers to all the items/people in a group
- Sebastian wanted to buy every sweet in the shop.
this sweet and that sweet and the other sweet …
- in negative sentences, every refers to not all, but some
- She doesn’t eat every fruit.
- she eats some fruit but not all of them, e.g. she eats all fruits except for kiwis
- She doesn’t know every person in her building.
- she knows some people, but not all of them
- every refers to all things/people collectively, we can form indefinite pronouns with every
- everybody/everyone = all people
- everything = all things
- everywhere = all places
- every time = all times