On Fri, 13 Oct 2006, David Golden wrote:
> That's just not what my dictionary says for "any",
Then maybe you need another dictionary.
> nor how I encounter it in common english usage.
Ah, but it is.
> Of course, there IS NO 100% authoritative dictionary for english,
> but let me assure you that thew "paul.jakma::any" definition is
> just not what you can assume "any" means when talking to people!
> Any : 1. one, no matter which.
> 2. some, no matter which.
This may be true, but it's not intrinsic to "any" - it's a bad
> So there. Neener neener neener.
"Any X out of Y"
Or in set terms:
"Any subset of Y, constrained by X"
All subsets are referred to, but indefinitely - only /one/ subset may
result or be considered at a time. The subset may or may not have
To make the distinction perfectly clear:
"Any man may speak and he shall be heard"
Does that mean if multiple men speak they'll be heard? Would a
normal english speaker take that as given from that sentence?
"Any two men may speak and they shall be heard"
A set of two men meets the criteria, but two sets of two men,
considered together, clearly does not...
Hope this helps.
1. No, or at least that's not a guarantee made in that sentence, it
obviously refers to any subset consisting of a single man.
2. I suspect, at least hope, not.
3. Indeed, the subset may be empty, a form sometimes used in
rhetorical questions (where the speaker takes such emptiness as
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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