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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #112315: Not anything or Nothing
Not anything or Nothing
NOT.... ANYTHING/ NOT... ANYBODY/ NOT... ANYWHERE
NOTHING/ NOBODY/ NOWHERE
1) When it comes to expressing the absence of a product, of a person, or of a place, several different patterns can be used. The common constructions for these negative statements are :
NOT... ANYTHING/ NOT... ANYBODY/NOT... ANYWHERE.
The verb is then in the negative form, and logically, the pronoun MUST be in the affirmative form "ANY". Double negatives MUST absolutely BE AVOIDED; they're WRONG.
- I'm quite sure he hasn't understood anything to what I said. (verb in the negative, pronoun in the affirmative)
- There wasn't anybody at the desk when the shop opened.
- He won't have anywhere to stay if he leaves his home.
2) The structure using NOTHING/ NOBODY/ NOWHERE is more emphatic, more imperious than the preceding ones. In that case, as the pronoun is in the negative form, the verb must be in the affirmative (or simply omitted). NEVER USE A DOUBLE NEGATIVE ! It's a serious mistake.
- He's so stupid! He understood nothing to what I said...(verb in the affirmative form, pronoun in the negative one. )
- How shocking! There was nobody at the desk when the shop opened!
- If he leaves his home, he will really have nowhere to stay.
3) When you need to build a sentence using the NEGATIVE + THING/ BODY/ WHERE at the beginning of a clause, you then have to use:
NOTHING/ NOBODY/ NOWHERE: thus, the emphasis is on the negative form.
- Nothing had changed since my grandparents' time.
- Nobody offered to help him, which was quite shocking!
This is an easy lesson ... provided you take great care of the risk of putting double negatives! Good luck !
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