Anyone and Any One

There is often confusion over anyone and any one. (Note: There is no hyphen in any one.)

Anyone

Anyone (one word) is similar to anybody. (Anyone is an indefinite pronoun.)

Try substituting the anyone in these examples with anybody:
  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. (Albert Einstein)
  • Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. (Franz Kafka)
  • I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink. (Joe E Lewis)

Any One

In the term any one, the word one will usually represent a nearby noun. For example:
  • Any one of those cakes is delicious.
  • (Here, the word one represents the noun cake.)

  • My father never raised his hand to any one of his children, except in self-defense. (Fred Allen)
  • (Here, the word one represents the noun child.)
In the examples above, the word any is an indefinite adjective which modifies the indefinite pronoun one.

In the examples below, the expression any one is not an indefinite adjective and an indefinite pronoun like in the examples above. It is an indefinite adjective and the number one. For example:
  • You can't call any one person the devil because no one person has the power to be the devil. (DMX)
  • (Here, the word one is an adjective modifying the noun person. Remember, numbers are classified as adjectives.)
  • At any one time, language is a kaleidoscope of styles, genres, and dialects. (David Crystal)
  • (Here, the word one is an adjective modifying the noun time.)

A Quick Test

You Can Test If Anyone Is Correct

You should be using anyone, if you can replace it with anybody.

You Can Test If Any One Is Correct

You should be using any one, if you can:
  • Remove the word any,
  • Remove the word one, or
  • Use the term any two.

One Is an Indefinite Pronoun

The word one in any one is an indefinite pronoun. This means it will be representing a nearby noun. For example:
  • Any one of our dogs will appreciate a long walk.
  • (In this example, one represents dog.)
Read more about indefinite pronouns.