Any vs. All

There has been always a challenge about using "all" and "any'' in English contexts.

"Any" vs. "All" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

The main difference between 'all' and 'any' is their meaning and what they refer to.


What They Refer to

  • 'Any':

means 'it does not matter which', and it refers to one or more inexact amount; but 'not whole'.

  • 'All':

means the whole number or amount. It refers to every single items in a group.

There were many kinds of foods in the menu, and all were new ones, so I thought any of them would be good to order.


Grammatical Functions

  • 'All' and 'any' are used as:

We were having fun all day. → determiner

Enough with the lies, I have heard it all. → pronoun

There was mud all over my face. all → adverb

Do you need any help? → determiner

"How was the shrimp?" 'I didn't get any." → pronoun

He cannot cook any better. → adverb

Any as an Adverb

  • 'Any':

is used before comparative adjectives mostly, in negative and interrogative sentences. In this case, it means 'even a small amount'.

This couldn't get any better.

'All', 'All of', and 'All of the'

We use 'all' to talk about everyone or everything in a particular type. We use 'all the' or 'all of the' to talk about everyone or everything in a particular group.

All sea foods smell like salt.

All of the birds were singing over the trees.

All the birds were singing over the trees.


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