Author Topic: Can Any make any difference.  (Read 979 times)

Offline mallu

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Can Any make any difference.
« on: May 25, 2016, 11:12:19 AM »
See the following sentences
1) I can catch any monkey
2) I catch any monkey
Is the 2 sentence ungrammatical ? if so,  why and how it differs frm the first one

Offline Daniel

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Re: Can Any make any difference.
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2016, 03:28:19 PM »
The 'any' is not the normal 'negative polarity item' type ("I don't see any monkeys", etc.). It's the so-called "free-choice" type.

"Can" gives a context where we could say "any monkey at all", while "I catch any monkey at all" sounds strange because it has no context. It's not something I would ever say, but I'm not sure it's strictly ungrammatical. It can be used in an embedded context or any other context where "any monkey at all" makes sense. "I'll catch any monkey at all then!" -- context where we don't care what monkey is caught. It's not a syntactic issue, but a semantic/pragmatic one. So I don't think it's ungrammatical per se, but just not applicable.

More than that, the present tense is weird without context. But it's certainly possible to say that in a context that makes sense:
"On Mondays to start your week of monkey research, what do you do?"
"I catch any monkey. The other days I need to be more careful so I test each one every week."
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