Syntactic change/

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 21 23:58:24 UTC 2006

Unless I was monitoring myself, I would say:

No, CAN'T anybody become President.

... CAN'T any team win the championship.

... NOT anything is possible.

Wouldn't ANYbody that I know go out with Chris.


On 4/21/06, Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Syntactic change/
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 05:26 PM 4/21/2006, you wrote:
> >>I've heard the any-doesn't construction, but only from a
> >>non-native-English-speaking (too many hyphens?) colleague.  I don't have
> >>his example handy, but when I cite it to my class, the NSs all look
> >>puzzled, as I do.  It's the ambiguity of meaning that's the
> problem:  Any
> >>old 32-bit CPU doesn't fit your needs, only some certain ones do?  No
> >>32-bit CPU fits your needs, none at all?  Might the instruction have
> been
> >>written by a NNS, via outsourcing?
> >Do you find it impossible to get them even in direct denials with a
> >possibility modal, as in
> >
> >"No, anybody CAN'T become president"
> >"Contrary to what is often claimed, any team CAN'T win the championship"
> >"You're wrong--anything ISn't possible"
> >"No, any doctor WON'T tell you any such thing"
> >
> >and so on, as rebuttals?
> >
> >These seem unexceptionable to me, and clearly have the free choice
> >interpretation (it is not the case that [for any x, x can VP/x is
> >possible]).  I agree that the "no x" interpretation is harder to get,
> >but it's not impossible, especially if there's a relative clause on
> >the "Any" subject:  "Anybody I know wouldn't go out with Chris".
> >
> >Larry
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
> The "any" plus relative clause is marginally acceptable to me, but the
> others sound odd, even in rebuttal (the third example might be less odd
> than the others).  I have to insert something like "just" and use
> positive:
> No, not just anybody can become president."  But I agree that a direct
> rebuttal with any + neg. (esp. with emphasis) is at least interpretable.
> Beverly
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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