Discussion:
solve any problem
(too old to reply)
a***@gmail.com
2018-07-10 18:11:34 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
1) I don't think he can do anything.
Normally that sentence would mean:
1a) I think he can't do anything.
Could it ever mean:
2) I don't think he can do just anything. I don't think he can do anything
he wants.

Consider this dialogue:
-He is very smart. He can solve any problem.
-I know he is smart, but I don't think he can solve any problem.

In this case, someone is echoing something that has already been said. Maybe
one use 'any' in that way in other situations as well if the intonation is
right?

Gratefully,
Navi
Peter T. Daniels
2018-07-10 21:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:11:38 PM UTC-4, ***@gmail.com wrote:

> 1) I don't think he can do anything.
> Normally that sentence would mean:
> 1a) I think he can't do anything.
> Could it ever mean:
> 2) I don't think he can do just anything. I don't think he can do anything
> he wants.
>
> Consider this dialogue:
> -He is very smart. He can solve any problem.
> -I know he is smart, but I don't think he can solve any problem.
>
> In this case, someone is echoing something that has already been said. Maybe
> one use 'any' in that way in other situations as well if the intonation is
> right?

If (2) stresses "any," they think he's not quite that smart.

If (2) doesn't put stress on "any," they are saying that problem-solving
isn't connected to smartness, and he can solve no problems.

I don't know what your questions ask.
a***@gmail.com
2018-07-11 05:00:57 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:57:02 PM UTC-7, Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> On Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 2:11:38 PM UTC-4, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>
> > 1) I don't think he can do anything.
> > Normally that sentence would mean:
> > 1a) I think he can't do anything.
> > Could it ever mean:
> > 2) I don't think he can do just anything. I don't think he can do anything
> > he wants.
> >
> > Consider this dialogue:
> > -He is very smart. He can solve any problem.
> > -I know he is smart, but I don't think he can solve any problem.
> >
> > In this case, someone is echoing something that has already been said. Maybe
> > one use 'any' in that way in other situations as well if the intonation is
> > right?
>
> If (2) stresses "any," they think he's not quite that smart.
>
> If (2) doesn't put stress on "any," they are saying that problem-solving
> isn't connected to smartness, and he can solve no problems.
>
> I don't know what your questions ask.

Thank you very much, Peter,

Well, you've answered my question. Here's another one, if I may:

Can the change of stress change the meaning of:
3) He can't do anything.
4) He can't solve any problem.

Could 'anything' mean 'just anything in '3'?
Could 'any problem' mean 'just any problem' (every problem) in '4'?

Gratefully,
Navi
Loading...