Using anything

Anything is a word used instead of something in negatives and questions. It is used to ask whether even a small amount of something exists or is available.

  • She doesn’t know anything about gadgets.
  • He never buys anything useful.

Anything is also used when it is not important to say exactly which thing, idea or action you are referring to.

  • You can do anything you want.
  • I will do anything for my kids.

Hardly anything

Hardly anything has a similar meaning to nothing.

  • You ate hardly anything.
  • As the lights were out, I could see hardly anything at all.

Anything else

  • Would you like to order anything else, Sir?
  • Have you got anything else to say?

Almost anything / just about anything

These expressions are used to emphasize anything.

  • He will do just about anything for his family.
  • He will eat almost anything.

Anything can be used with numbers to show that you are not giving the exact figure.

  • A good laptop can cost anything from $700 to $1200.
  • She is a well-known consultant. You may have to wait anything between four and six months for an appointment.

Phrases with anything

Anything but

This expression is used to emphasize the fact that a particular word does not describe the exact nature of a person or situation.

  • She was anything but cooperative. (= She wasn’t cooperative at all.)
  • I was anything but interested in the offer. (= I was not at all interested in the offer.)
  • They were anything but amused. (= They weren’t amused at all.)

Anything for a quiet life

This expression is used for saying that you let someone do something because you don’t want to get into an argument with them.

  • Peter often brings his friends over and although I don’t like it, I usually keep mum. Anything for a quiet life.