‘Anything’ or ‘Any Thing’: What’s the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on April 10, 2023

Have you seen both ‘anything’ and ‘any thing’ in a piece of writing somewhere? Are you wondering what the difference is between this word and phrase? We’ll answer that in this article, plus teach you how to pronounce them and use them in a sentence.

Need a quick answer? Here it is:

  • ‘Anything’ is both a pronoun and an adverb. It means any such thing or at all. It’s similar to ‘something.’
  • ‘Any thing’ refers to a rare noun that indicates some kind of an object but not a specific object.

This word and phrase sound the same, but ‘anything’ is the more commonly used phrase out of the two. Therefore, you should probably stick to ‘anything’ rather than ‘any thing.’

What’s the Difference Between ‘Anything’ and ‘Any Thing’?

As we just learned, the difference between ‘anything’ and ‘any thing’ is that the former is the more commonly used one of the two.

It means any such thing or at all.

For example, you might hear someone say:

‘I’m starving, but I don’t know what to eat. I could eat anything at this point.’

But the words ‘any thing’ are used much differently.

For example, you might hear someone say:

Any of your things left on the floor will be thrown away tonight.’

Using ‘any thing’ can be pretty awkward, which is why most people just use anything. It would work in that same sentence but better.

Take a look:

Anything left on the floor will be thrown away tonight.

Easy Tips for Using ‘Anything’ and ‘Any Thing’

As we mentioned before, using ‘anything’ is more common than using ‘any thing.’

It’s difficult to find cases where ‘any thing’ would work better than ‘anything.’

  • That’s why we stick to ‘anything’ for the most part.

But ‘anything’ could be used in almost any context.

Use it when telling someone:

  • You don’t want anything from the store or that.
  • You don’t need anything from your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.

The only time it’s okay to use ‘any thing’ is:

  • When you want to emphasize that you’re referring to an object (not a person, animal, or idea)
  • When ‘things’ is plural, or when you insert an adjective before thing.

Definition of ‘Anything’: What Does ‘Anything’ Mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘anything’ as:

  • Anything whatever, any such thing, or at all.

Definition of ‘Any Thing’: What Does ‘Any Thing’ Mean?


The same dictionary defines ‘any’ as:

  • One or some indiscriminately of whatever kind.

It can also mean:

  • One or another taken at random
  • Every (used to indicate one selected without restriction)
  • One, some, or all indiscriminately of whatever quantity
  • One or more (used to indicate an undetermined number or amount)
  • All (used to indicate a maximum or whole)
  • A or some without reference to quantity or extent
  • Unmeasured or unlimited in amount, number, or extent
  • Appreciably large or extended
  • Any person or persons (anyone)
  • Any things or things
  • Any part, quantity, or number
  • To any extent or degree (at all)


‘Thing’ is defined as:

  • An object or entity not precisely designated or capable of being designated.

It could also mean:

  • An inanimate object distinguished from a living being
  • A separate and distinct individual quality, fact, idea, or usually entity
  • Individual
  • A matter of concern (affair)
  • State of affairs in general or within a specified or implied sphere
  • A particular state of affairs (situation)
  • Event or circumstance
  • Possession or effects
  • Whatever may be possessed or owned or be the object of a right
  • An article of clothing
  • Deed, act, or accomplishment
  • A product of work or activity
  • Something (such as an activity) that makes a strong appeal to the individual (forte, specialty)
  • A mild obsession or phobia
  • Detail or point
  • Idea or notion
  • The proper or fashionable way of behaving, talking, or dressing (used with the)

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Anything’

Are you wondering how to pronounce ‘anything’? H

ere’s a short guide.

To pronounce ‘anything’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling:


This guide can be used to pronounce both words and phrases.

How to Use ‘Anything’ and ‘Any Thing’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what the word and phrase mean and how to pronounce them, let’s see examples of how to use them in sentences.


  • I never read anything by Stephen King. All of my writer friends always look at me weirdly when I say that, but I’m not really into the thriller/horror genre. Plus, I read other great fiction, so I don’t care.
  • My sister and I rarely get anything for our birthday anymore. Ever since my mom lost her job, we’ve been really struggling to make ends meet. I really feel for her, but I don’t know how to help. I’m still in school, but maybe I can get a part-time job.
  • I don’t think I own any red shirts. I just hate that color on me. I think I look better in purple, yellow, orange, and green. Oh, and we can’t forget black – my favorite!
  • My fiancé and I didn’t really talk about anything on our drive to California. We weren’t fighting or anything. I guess neither of us really minds the silence.
  • Shoot, I didn’t bring anything to the party. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know it was a potluck. I’ll make sure to bring something next time.
  • I’m grateful I didn’t have to get anything for my ex for Valentine’s Day. I broke up with her a few weeks beforehand because I didn’t want to make things awkward.

Any Thing 

  • Any thing you leave in my room, I’m throwing in the garbage. I’m sick of you leaving your things all over the house, especially in my room!
  • I get yelled at for any little thing when I go to my dad’s house. My stepmother is so annoying. I wish my dad never got remarried.
  • Any one thing you can think of, I’d be glad to get from the supermarket. But just one thing. Don’t try adding more things to the list because I won’t get them.
  • Any things you forget on vacation, we can just buy at a local store. I always buy sheets, pillowcases, washcloths, and towels for my hotel rooms. I don’t trust their cleaning abilities (if they even clean them).
  • Both of my wives liked to nit-pick over any and every thing when something was important to them. Luckily, my second wife isn’t as harsh as the first one.
  • If any of these things were important to you, you would have done them ahead of time. We don’t have a lot of time left now.

Final Advice on ‘Anything’ and ‘Any Thing’

To recap, we learned the following:

  • ‘Anything’ is both a pronoun and an adverb. It means any such thing or at all. It’s similar to ‘something.’
  • ‘Any thing’ refers to a rare noun that indicates some kind of an object but not a specific object.

This word and phrase sound the same, but ‘anything’ is the more commonly used phrase out of the two. Therefore, you should probably stick to ‘anything’ rather than ‘any thing.’

If you ever get stuck on anything, you can always come back here to review what you learned. We’ve got a whole library of content on confusing words and phrases that you might find helpful as you’re learning the language. Go check it out whenever you need to.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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