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That's because 'ningún' is actually more like 'not one' than 'any'. But we're going for a translation that doesn't sound weird, not a direct word substitution. In English, we usually prefer, “I don't have any cats" instead of “I don't have not one cat" because we have a rule regarding negatives.
Cualquier is not always the opposite of
ningún. Here are the differences:
algún means "any". But when "any" is used to mean that a variety of choices will do, you can use
cualquiera , which is shortened to
cualquier when used as an adjective before a noun (either masculine or feminine).
Quiero cualquier bebida = I want any drink (I doesn't matter which one of all the choices you get).
Quiero alguna bebida = I want some drink (it may matter which drink you get, but you're not specifying if it does, just you're saying you want a drink).
No quiero ninguna bebida = I don't want any drink (the opposite of both statements above).
Here's another example:
Cuál zapato te gusta? = Which shoe do you like?
Cualquiera = Any of them
If you answered
alguno here, you would be saying "I like one of them", but not saying "any of them will do".