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All of the time I see people use these two words synonymously. For example:

Why did he move there anyway?


Why did he move there anyways?

I always assumed that there was once just the word anyway that one day had an S added to the end for some reason. Is this assumption correct? What morphological process enables this to happen?

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"Anyways" shows up the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a "dialect" form of "anyway", while in the Oxford Dictionary, it's described as "informal or dialect form of anyway". I don't have a reference for it yet, but I think "anyways" is an American corruption of "anyway". –  Cupcake Jul 4 '11 at 0:55
Oh, and as for the morphological process that allow this to happen (as a high-school English teacher once taught me): "Language changes over time and distance." –  Cupcake Jul 4 '11 at 0:57
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I've always thought the addition of the S was just an affectation. Slang usage.

People use laters/laterz online a lot in a similar way. There are other variants seen for anyhow, anyhoo is quite popular, spoken and written.

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I don't have any data for this, but I'd got the impression that "anyways" is a pretty established regional usage in some parts of the US? +1 for anyhoo — a lovely one, common in the UK... –  PLL Feb 1 '11 at 2:57
The NOAD reports anyways as informal or dialectal. –  kiamlaluno Feb 1 '11 at 2:58
@kiamlaluno: Well it is now, yes. My point was that the original addition seems to just be a corruption. –  Orbling Feb 1 '11 at 12:19
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Anyways is probably a corruption, but seems to me to make just as much sense as the original. In Northern England, people use any road; equally sensible.

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