Word Confusion: Any One versus Anyone

Posted October 9, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Don’t ya just hate the anys? They’re so confusing when trying to decide if it’s a closed compound word or not. In this case, any one could also be anyone since it can be applied to a single person, however — you knew that was coming, didn’t you? — if you look at the examples below, the any ones could lose that one and still make sense…

Consider the following:
Any one of them could do the job.

Any of them could do the job.

Anyone of them could do the job.

Um, I can’t lose the “one” without losing the whole word…”Of them could do the job” just doesn’t sound right. If I only take away the “one” and leave that “any” in place, then it was supposed to be any one in the first place.

How could any one fall asleep that fast?

This question refers to a specific person, which means it’s a pronoun…and “any one” is an adjective. Besides, “How could any fall asleep that fast?” just doesn’t work.

How could anyone fall asleep that fast?

Sometimes I wish I could fall asleep quickly.

You can choose any one of these fabrics for your new dress.

You can choose any of these fabrics for your new dress.

You can choose anyone of these fabrics for your new dress.

Well, for one thing, the “anyone” refers to fabric which is NOT a person.

Other any posts include “Any More versus Anymore“, “Any Way vs Anyway vs Anyways“, and “Any Time versus Anytime“.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Any One Anyone
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Rethink Afghanistan” was on the Clinton Street Theater marquee in Portland by Brave New Films [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Clinton Street Theater in Portland, Oregon, has three movies for you to choose from. Pick any one of them.

A general in full dress uniform with lots of medals

“General Agha Petros D’Baz” is Baz Tribe’s own work [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

General Agha Petros D’Baz isn’t just anyone.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective + Pronoun Pronoun, indefinite (takes a single verb)
Any single person or thing [Usually with the negative or in questions] Any person or people, any body

A person of importance or authority

[Without negative] Used for emphasis

Any one of us could do the job.

No more than ten new members are chosen in any one year.

You can use any one of these boxes to pack.

Did any one of you see the accident?

I would recommend any one of these books.

Any one of these flowers could bloom next.

I was afraid to tell anyone.

They are read by anyone who’s anyone.

There wasn’t anyone there

Does anyone remember him?

Anyone could do it.

Pay her a little attention, and she’s anyone’s.

It was still anyone’s game at halftime.

Geez, it’s anyone’s guess.

Anyone who wants to come is welcome.

I’m not just anyone, you know.

History of the Word:
1350-1400 Middle English ani on.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Gumboots, Any One?” by GPS 56 from New Zealand [CC BY 2.0] and a “Crowd of people after the rowing competition Joansoka 2012 in Vagur” is EileenSanda’s own work [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.