anyone who likes him

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anyone who likes him

Post by azz » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:09 am

Can one say

a. Anything you see here is not real.
b. Anyone who likes him will not like me.
c. Anybody who goes to this club will not say it is bad.


?

Many thanks.
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Re: anyone who likes him

Post by tony h » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:53 pm

Yes!
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: anyone who likes him

Post by azz » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:31 pm

Thank you so much.

How about
d. Anywhere I go isn't safe.
e. Anyone I know doesn't like me.
f. Anyone I know doesn't know him.

g. Anyone won't like me.
h. Anyone won't say this club is bad,

?

It seems to me that "anyone" and "anything"and "anywhere" have to be qualified. I'd say the last two don't work. But I am not sure about (d), (e) and (f) either.


Many thanks.
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Re: anyone who likes him

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:11 pm

It can be hard to put one's finger on why some of those don't work. They just sound wrong, and native speakers will almost always formulate those concepts differently.

Maybe it is because the emotion embedded in an expression of negation is felt to require an explicitly negating pronoun ('Nobody/No-one') rather than a vague and unassertive one ('Anyone'), or else a positive statement that enables a more assertive pronoun or adverb to be used (e.g. the second variant I have composed for d), e) and g) ).

Similarly, a more specific adverb ('Everywhere' vs. 'Anywhere') seems to be preferred in expressions of negation.

Hence:

d. Anywhere I go isn't safe. ---> Nowhere I go is safe or Everywhere I go is unsafe.

e. Anyone I know doesn't like me. ---> Nobody/no-one I know likes me or Everyone I know dislikes me.

f. Anyone I know doesn't know him. ---> Nobody/No-one I know knows him.

g. Anyone won't like me. ---> Nobody/No-one will like me or Everyone will dislike me.

h. Anyone won't say this club is bad. ---> Nobody/No-one will say this club is bad.
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Re: anyone who likes him

Post by Phil White » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:49 pm

Yes, Erik is on the money.

It is very odd. Tony correctly identified that your first three examples are acceptable and normal, despite the negative.

I shall devote a few brain cells to this the next time Sheba and I are out chasing squirrels.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: anyone who likes him

Post by tony h » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:12 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:11 pm
d. Anywhere I go isn't safe. ---> Nowhere I go is safe or Everywhere I go is unsafe.
It seems to me that, for d, there is a meaning to the original being: " it isn't safe to be with me". In the way that I would be worried for my safety if I found myself in a country house with Miss. Marple, on a train with Poirot or supporting a Conservative speaker at a University debate.
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I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: anyone who likes him

Post by Phil White » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:11 am

Yes, Tony. I hit on that one when I began applying a test.

I am still struggling with a comprehensible formulation of my thinking, but I shall try.

The various "any..." words all have a fundamental meaning of "a random exemplar from a given set". If the set is not explicitly specified, then the set is the totality of all possible exemplars:
  • I could live anywhere warm. (The set is all places that are warm)
  • I could live anywhere. (The set is the totality of all places.)
In effect, a statement that uses "any" to say something about a single random member of the set also applies to all members of the set, so the meaning of such a statement is often identical to a statement with "every" or a negative statement with "no-".
  • Anybody who knows me knows my dog.
  • Everybody who knows me knows my dog.
  • Nobody who knows me doesn't know my dog.
Despite this apparent semantic identity, however, there are occasions in which the precise meaning "a random exemplar from a set" is not appropriate.

This can be tested against all the sample sentences by replacing "any" with "no matter" to indicate this randomness. The syntax has to be adjusted accordingly:
  • a. No matter what you see here, it is not real.
  • b. No matter who likes him, they will not like me.
  • c. No matter who goes to this club, they will not say it is bad.
  • d. No matter where I go, it isn't safe.
  • e. * No matter whom I know, they don't like me.
  • f. *No matter whom I know, they don't know him.
  • g. *No matter who won't like me.
  • h. *No natter who won't say this club is bad.
That test seems to reliably identify those sentences which could be acceptable and those which are not. (We have already done that instinctively.)

It seems to me that the thrust of sentences a - d is something along the lines of "irrespective of which person/place/thing you consider, the (negative) statement will always apply".

The intended thrust of sentences e - h, however, is to focus on the totality of the set, and so a formulation with "any" is inappropriate.

I am not entirely happy with that as an explanation, but I think it gets us a little further.

As a sidenote, although sentences a - d may be possible, only sentence b seems to me to be entirely natural without further context. But for sentences a, c and d, we can construct contexts in which they would be quite natural:

"On my last three holidays, I was struck by lightning, narrowly escaped from a tsunami and was pulled from the wreckage of a building after an earthquake. Anywhere I go isn't safe."
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: anyone who likes him

Post by azz » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:20 am

Thank you all so much!!

No matter how much I thank you, it won't be enough!
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Re: anyone who likes him

Post by tony h » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:00 pm

Well done Phil.

Also with regard to your comment ...
Phil White wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:49 pm
I shall devote a few brain cells to this the next time Sheba and I are out chasing squirrels.
I think I shall adopt "I am out chasing squirrels" as a euphemism for doing some thinking, even if I am not quite alert enough to identify the subject matter or it is accompanied by mild snoring.
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Re: anyone who likes him

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:55 pm

"I'm busy spanking the monkey" is another zoological euphemism that can come in handy.
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