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singular and the word ‘any’

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  • sardinia
    Participant
    6 August, 2011 at 15:16
    • Total posts: 1

    Hello everyone.

    Just a couple of questions :-

    Is this sentence below grammatically correct?

    Q1: Is there any car on the road?

    I was wondering if it was alright to use the word ‘any’ with singular nouns that are countable in a question.
    What is the difference between ‘can’ and ‘could’ in this question below?

    Q1: Can you hang out the clothes to dry, please?
    Q2: Could you hang out the clothes to dry, please?

    I would be grateful for any help that I can get.

    Thanks! :wink: :wink: :wink:

    dmncpckrng8
    Participant
    2 September, 2011 at 11:26
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: singular and the word ‘any’

    Hi

    I think, the fact that you are asking the question, means you have a feeling that the Q1 is not quite right :)

    You really shouldn’t use ‘any’ with singular nouns that are countable in a question. So it can either be:
    Are there any cars on the road? or
    Is there a car on the road?

    The difference between can and could is very little when we use the words for a polite request in the real world. As a native I often teach them as more or less the same but I tell my students that could is a little more polite and probably a little better in formal situations.

    If you went to a restaurant and asked "could I have a menu?" or "can I have a menu?" they would both be fine and the waiter would think you were polite.

    I hope this helps a little

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