In English, the determiner any can mean each of four other determiners such as all, some, every, none (depending on the sentence it is in). So any is sometimes equivalent to a universal determiner, and sometimes not.

I'd like to know whether there is a determiner in French that has the same range of meanings as any. I know that tout means all, quelque means for some, chaque means every, aucun means none in French.

BTW, in German irgendein is a determiner like any. In Chinese, it is "任何" like any.

  • 1
    "Any" is not a universal determiner in English: Universal determiners. To my knowledge the concept on "universal determiner" does not exist in French grammar. Your using "universal determiner" for irgendein (ein unbestimmter Bestimmungswort/Determiner) makes me wonder if you are not using "universal" wrongly. Would you by any chance mean "undefined" and no "universal"? Again you need to be more specific, include more details.
    – None
    Jul 7 at 18:21
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    As it is maybe your question would be better on linguistics.
    – None
    Jul 7 at 18:22
  • Quelque can mean "some" but it can also mean "any", "about", "a few"... Chaque can mean "each" or "every".
    – None
    Jul 7 at 18:51
  • The google translate gives quelconque for any. But translation only has any and some, not all and none.
    – hermes
    Jul 7 at 19:11
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    @LukeSawczak Then they should clarify what they mean by "universal" and FL is not the site to do it. Asking the same question over and over again won't solve their (mis)understanding of "any" and the concept of "universal determiner". And FL is not the place to give the different meanings of "any".
    – None
    Jul 7 at 19:39

"None" is not a determiner but a pronoun. No, there is no unique word that could be used to translate "any" in French. There is quite a number of possibilities, and some of them, among which important ones, are given below. At times "any" is not translated as a single word but instead in combination with other words.

  • 1/ [all] Any loose knot must be done over again. → Tout nœud mal serré doit être refait. or Tous les nœuds mal serrés doivent être refaits.

  • 2/ [every] This has to be done any time you notice a leak. → Il faut faire cela toutes les fois que vous remarquez une fuite. or Il faut faire cela chaque fois que vous remarquez une fuite.

  • 3/ [some] I don't want any soup. → Je ne veux pas de soupe.

  • 4/ They didn't see any books on the shelves. → Ils n'ont pas vu de livres sur les étagères.

  • 5/ She doesn't want any soup, she wants turtle soup! ("any" is stressed) → Elle ne veut pas d'une soupe quelconque, elle veut de la soupe à la tortue. or Elle ne veux pas n'importe quelle soupe, Elle veut de la soupe à la tortue !

  • 6/ Ask any doctor — They'll tell you that alcohol is a poison. (Practical English Usage) ("any" is stressed) → Demandez à n'importe quel docteur, il vous dira que l'alcool est un poison.

  • 7/ He knows French if any man does. (Harrap's) → Il sait le français comme pas un. (Harrap's)

  • 8/ He hasn't any more money. (Harrap's) → Il n'a plus d'argent.

  • 9/ If it is in any way inconvenient, don't do it. (Harrap's) → Pour peu que cela vous dérange, ne le faites pas. (Harrap's)

  • 10/ If it is in any way inconvenient, don't do it. (Harrap's) → Si en quelque façon cela vous dérange, ne le faites pas. (user LPH)

  • I upvote this, but are you sure that none is not a determiner and why do you think it is not?
    – hermes
    Jul 7 at 20:53
  • @hermes Yes, I am sure; first I have the certitude to have never seen it used before a noun and then this is confirmed by OALD that defines it as a pronoun (comparatively rarely, it is an adverb, as in "none the wiser").
    – LPH
    Jul 7 at 20:59
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    @hermes I believe that source is wrong; it provides no instance of use as a determiner. Take a look at these other dictionaries: Merriam, lexico, MacMillan, Cambridge, Wiktionary, Free, Longman. Collins: "quantifier", no POS.
    – LPH
    Jul 7 at 22:09
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    Parce qu'en anglais « inconvenient » ne veut pas dire ça. Un inconvénient ce serait « drawback ». Jul 7 at 23:31
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    Usually “none” is a pronoun. As previously noticed it can also be an adverb. In “none of” it can be argued that it is part of a determiner. Notice that the related word “no” is also a determiner. E.g. No words can explain this. Jul 8 at 6:13

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