Friday, July 3, 2015

Anymore, Any More: Uses in American English

anymore or any more

     Some references will tell you that anymore and any more are interchangeable in American English, or that “any more” is preferred for formal writing. Neither of these things is true, and you don’t need to pay any attention to them. You shouldn’t pay any attention to them.
     In American English, the one- and two-word forms have different meanings.

     Anymore (one word) is an adverb meaning now in one of two slightly different senses:
1. “any longer,” anymore expressed in a negative way that suggests that something that used to be so isn’t so now . . .
The Amtrak doesn’t stop here anymore.
Look, I’m not a kid anymore.
2. “nowadays,” anymore expressed in a positive way that suggests that something that wasn’t so before is so now . . .
Everyone in this town looks so sad anymore.
Whenever we go skiing anymore, somebody gets hurt.

     Any more (two words) is:
1. an adjective phrase that means “some more,” “an additional amount or number of” . . .
I don’t want any more ice cream.
If any more ants show up, I’m out of here.
2. an adverb phrase, meaning “to any greater degree or extent,” that can be used to modify either a verb or an adjective . . .
I don’t like this any more than you do. Modifying a verb.
This car doesn’t look any more dependable than the other one. Modifying an adjective.
I don't want to hear any more about it.
Could they even possibly be any more annoying?

     Think of anymore in time contexts and any more for quantity, degree, or extent. One word for “when,” two words for “how much,” like that.
      Now, UK folks, who use only any more, two words, might look at this discussion with some amusement and wonder why we think we need a one-word version in the first place. Fair enough. But at least we don't say silly stuff like VITT-a-min and SHED-ule. 
Dictionary Support:
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate, American Heritage, Random House Webster's, Oxford American, Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, et al. 
Text Support:
Little Brown Handbook, Harper Collins . . . New Century Handbook, Longman . . . Garner's Modern American Usage, Oxford University Press . . . et al.