Thursday, May 10, 2012

English Help: Any One - Anyone

There are many word pairs in English where there is a difference in meaning based on whether you write the words as one word or two. In the examples below, you can see the difference in meaning between "any one" (written as two words) and "anyone" (written as one word).

ANY ONE. You need to write the two words separately when "any one" is being used adjectivally. The adjectival phrase answers the question: Which one? Any one!

I take it to be a principal rule of life not to be too much addicted to any one thing. [Terence, Roman playwright]

If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise. [Bible, 1 Corinthians 13]

ANYONE. When "anyone" is used as an indefinite pronoun, it is written as one word. You can double-check by substituting the word "anybody" in place of "anyone" to make sure you are dealing with the indefinite pronoun.

Old age is an evil desired by all, and youth is a good not understood by anyone. [Italian proverb]

Don't let anyone pull the wool over your eyes. [English proverb.]

If anyone strives to please everyone, he is a fool. [Latin proverb]

If anyone can carry all his goods with him, a happy man is he. [Latin proverb]

The image below is from a collection of Renaissance emblems by Joachim Camerarius in which animals are used to symbolize the human condition. The snail is the animal that symbolizes the happy man who is able to carry everything he owns with him.

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