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Ordinary any more [usually with negative or in questions]

  • to any further extent; any longer:

she refused to listen any more

Positive any more is the use of the adverb any more in an affirmative context.

A servant being instructed how to act, will answer 'I will do it any more'

meaning: from now on

Pantyhose are so expensive anymore that I just try to get a good suntan and forget about it.

meaning: nowadays

Can you always substitute it in place of either of these? Does it have any other uses? I can't answer this for myself because as a native British English speaker it sounds totally wrong to me.

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The "nowadays" meaning is valid in a regional American dialect. I can't say which one, offhand. Maybe somebody else will know. I can't say that I've ever heard the "positive" meaning, but maybe it's from that same dialect. –  Peter Shor Jun 9 '11 at 16:58
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Possible duplicate question: –  Peter Shor Jun 9 '11 at 17:04
    
That asks "is it legit?", I am asking "How is it used?" –  z7sg Ѫ Jun 9 '11 at 17:05
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@z7sg I heard the last use with some frequency in the Southeastern US, but rarely if ever in New England. I didn't analyze it at the time, but I think you are correct that anymore could always substitute for nowadays. @Peter I can think of one sentence in particular (the first time I noticed this usage) "I can only pitch four innings anymore," which suggests that it is not a general "what the world is like" nowadays. –  KitFox Jun 12 '11 at 13:40
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4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted
+50

Basically, the positive anymore does not simply have the meaning of nowadays, but rather means simply quite the opposite of negative anymore. The negative anymore implies that what is described by the sentence used to be the case, and asserts that it no longer is, the positive anymore implies or asserts that what is described used to NOT be the case, and asserts that it is now.

Kindle and Sag (1975) provide a slightly more technical explanation. Consider the following:

(1) Anymore, we eat a lot of fish.

According to Kindle and Sag (1975):

The usual hypothesis advanced about the grammars of those, primarily Mid-west, speakers who say sentences like [(1)] is that they have restructured anymore into a free-wheeling lexical item with the meaning of 'nowadays'. [...] This explanation has recently been shown to be unsatisfactory by Labov (1972), who observes that all English speakers balk at items like [(3)] and [(4)].

(Kindle and Sag 1975:89)

(3) When would like to live, 1920 or anymore?

(4) When was the best beer brewed? ... Anymore.

Kindle and Sag continue, quoting Labov (1972):

'In Standard English a sentence of the form: 'I don't do Y anymore' presupposes that 'X used to do Y'. In these 'positive' anymore dialects a complex semantic change has taken place creating a new lexical item anymore-2, which occurs only in positive sentences. Positive sentences of the form: 'X does Y anymore' assert that 'X didn't used to do Y.' Positive anymore speakers still have the old anymore in negative sentences, i.e. as a polarity alternant of still.'

(Labov 1972, cited by Kindle and Sag 1975:89-90)

References

Kindle, D. and I. Sag. (1975). Some more on anymore. In R. W. Fasold and R. W. Shuy (eds.), Analyzing variation in language: Papers from the Second Colloquium on New Ways of Analyzing Variation. Washington, D.C. Georgetown University Press, 89-111.

Labov, W. (1972). Where do grammars stop? In R. Shuy (ed.), *Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1972. Washington, D.C. Georgetown University Press.

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Thanks, this answer is enlightening! It's also nice to know that my curiosity was shared by notable linguists. –  z7sg Ѫ Jun 13 '11 at 2:57
    
No problem, though I'm sure you could have found it after a little while on your own. I know about these because of the Georgetown connection (where I'd going to school). Actually, if it were the regular school semester, I'd have walked down to Dr Schilling's office to ask her about it, she's done a book with William O'Grady that also discusses this phenomenon. Anyway, glad it helped. I was worried it might have been too esoteric, y'know, lots of unintelligible jargon, etc. But I'm glad you found some use for it! –  jyc23 Jun 14 '11 at 4:09
    
I can't help but think of The Raven when I read (4) up above. :) –  mskfisher Jun 14 '11 at 18:58
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Positive anymore is a feature of the Midland American English dialect. It is the region highlighted in purple on the map below:

Dialect Map of American English

It has essentially two closely related meanings: "nowadays" and "presently". My parents, being from the Midlands, use positive anymore in this way.

Think of it like this: for any negative sentence in which you could use the word anymore, think of the logical opposite of that sentence — you can use positive anymore in that situation, e.g.:

  • I don't wake up early anymore. -> I wake up early anymore.
  • I won't help her anymore. -> I will help her anymore.

In all forms of Standard English, the word "nowadays" (or "these days", etc.) would be substituted in place of anymore, but you can probably understand the logic.


(One is also able to position positive anymore more freely than negative anymore, like at the beginning of the sentence: "Anymore, I just listen to the radio".)

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+1: One question: when you say it's used for presently, do you mean the soon definition of presently or the currently definition of presently? I don't believe I have ever heard it used for soon (although I wouldn't know anything about its use in Ireland). –  Peter Shor Jun 12 '11 at 17:00
    
Answering my own question, Merriam-Webster's discussion seems to indicate this means the currently sense of presently. –  Peter Shor Jun 12 '11 at 23:45
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Yes I have heard any more used positively in the American Southwest - meaning, as noted above, "these days." It is a regionalism, but I don't know its geographic distribution.

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@z7sg, You are asking "how and where is it used?"

Well, to answer "where is it used", according to Wikipedia, it is used more in America:

Positive anymore occurs in North American English, especially in the Midlands variety spoken in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri; its usage extends to Utah and some other western US states.
Positive anymore also occurs in parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some linguists theorize that the North American usage derives from Irish or Scots-Irish sources.

Interesting to know that it is also a part of Pittsburgh English, of Pennsylvania:

"positive" anymore adv. these days; nowadays (Montgomery 1989; McElhinny 1999; Montgomery 1999)
Example: "It seems I always wear these shoes anymore."

Speaking of examples, here are some examples on how to use it:, and consequently, derive some of its meanings:

The following examples illustrate the use of positive anymore in Irish or American English speech, as recorded by lexicographers or sociolinguists.

"A servant being instructed how to act, will answer 'I will do it any more'." (Northern Ireland, c. 1898)
"Any more, the difference between a white collar worker and a blue collar worker is simply a matter of shirt preference." (Madison, Wisconsin, 1973)
"Everything we do anymore seems to have been done in a big hurry." (Kingston, Ontario, 1979)
"I'll be getting six or seven days' holiday anymore." (Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981)[4]
"Anymore we watch videos rather than go to the movies." (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1991)

It is possible to substitute positive anymore in place of either of these, however, as this is kind of like a slang special to scattered areas in America, it would rarely be used, and people don't usually use it that way anyway, so you might not be understood.

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