One of the segments in CNN's "Planet in Peril: Battle Lines", 12/14/2008, led with this quotation about the market in shark's fins:
PETER KNIGHTS, CO-FOUNDER, WILDAID: The tradition will end. The question is will it end before there's any sharks left?
This seems to be one of those cases where the interaction among multiple negatives and scalar predicates ends up one negative off, plus or minus. At least for me, Mr. Knights' sentence means roughly the opposite of what he intended, if it means anything at all. (I take it that he meant "… before there's no sharks left" or "… before all the sharks are gone".) But apparently CNN's editors didn't have any problem with it — was this a sign of a difference in grammar, or just another indication that mis-negation is hard to fail to miss?
There are enough examples of this type out there to suggest that for some people, any can sometimes mean something like "hardly any" or "barely any":
(link) I'm probably getting paid more than most comics on the club circuit. It's just that all of it goes before there's any money left for kit.
(link) Russ Mitchell weighs in on the subject of healthcare today, and specifically the problem that healthcare technology is driving prices up so far and so fast that at present rates it won't be all that long until there's any money left over for anything else.
I take it that the authors of these sentences wouldn't use "any money" to mean "hardly any money" in a simple clause, without the context of a subordinator like before or until:
?There's any money left for kit. ≠ There's hardly any money left for kit.
?There's any money left over for anything else. ≠ There's hardly any money left for anything else.
So perhaps this is just another example like "no head injury is too trivial to ignore", where there isn't a different grammar, but just a common confusion. But I wonder.