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Consider the following sentence:

[This] is not important for the younger generation any more.

Now let's suppose that for some reason I am willing or obliged to use the adjective "unimportant" instead of "not important"1. Would the following sentence be grammatical?

[This] is unimportant for the younger generation any more.

If it's not, is there anything I could replace "any more" with to preserve the meaning but make the sentence grammatical?

My question is purely out of curiosity. What's the equivalent, if any, of any more that can be used in sentences where the verb is affirmative?

1 Instead of not important/unimportant any other similar pair could do, e.g. not useful/useless.

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3  
[This] is unimportant for the younger generation nowadays. –  GEdgar Apr 4 '12 at 15:16
    
Shouldn't it be anymore? See english.stackexchange.com/questions/31167/anymore-vs-any-more –  doncherry Apr 10 '12 at 23:59

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The construction is unimportant ... any more is not generally accepted. As noted in wiktionary (and amplified in answers to the question What are the possible meanings of positive any more Peter Shor mentioned), any more is used:

  1. In negative or interrogative constructions: from a given time onwards; longer, again. (eg) They don't make repairable radios any more.
  2. (colloquial, chiefly Northern Ireland, US) In positive constructions: now, from now on. (eg) ‘Quite absurd,’ he said. ‘Suffering bores me, any more.’ (DH Lawrence, Women in Love)

To retain the slight sense of change in your original example, one can replace is with has become near the beginning of the sentence:

This has become unimportant for the younger generation.

You can use now as previously suggested ("This is unimportant for the younger generation now"), but note that unless a contrast has been made, now appears superfluous; the present-tense statement "This is unimportant for the younger generation" will have the nearly same meaning.

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I think your second sentence would be better written as:

[This] is unimportant for the younger generation now [and going forward].

If you can change the sentence structure a bit more, you could say

[This] has become unimportant for the younger generation.

or

[This] is now unimportant for the younger generation.

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1  
I think the meaning would better be expressed by "has become unimportant for the younger generation". –  Peter Shor Apr 4 '12 at 14:52
    
@PeterShor: I agree, but I got the impression that there was a requirement to keep the sentence structure mostly the same. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Apr 4 '12 at 14:53

Your second sentence is a use of "positive any more", and is fine in some regional American dialects, but is generally not allowed in standard English. I don't know of another expression you could easily replace it by — this is probably why these dialects started using it.

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From your first sentence

This is not important for the younger generation any more.

a mild transformation would be

This is no longer important for the younger generation.

where the verb isn't exactly negated, but the adverb 'no longer captures the 'not ... any more'. (It is arguable whether the verb is negated).

but to put the negation purely away from the verb (and into the adjective) as in 'unimportant', you have to modify the verb with something that captures the same.

This is unimportant for the younger generation now.

Unfortunately, this does not capture the expectation, whether it was important before but not now, or if it will soon change to being important.

But to answer the title question, 'what is the opposite of "any more"?', the temporal connotation of 'any more' is aspectual, about the continued state of things. 'Any more' implies that the action was true at some point but stopped. The 'opposite of that is that it is was occurring and is going on now, which would be said in the positive in English as:

This is still important for the younger generation.

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In OP's example, any more implies [this] was important [for younger generations?] in the past, but it no longer is.

The opposite of which is that it never was important before (but will/may be in the future)...

[This] is not important for the younger generation as yet.

I can't exactly put my finger on why, but I feel OP's use of any more is somewhat "clunky" regardless of whether it's coupled with not important or unimportant. I would say...

[This] is no longer important for the younger generation.

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"Any more" goes with "not". The standard construction is, "This is not X any more." You can add additional clauses, like "This is not X to Y any more" in your example, but you can't take pieces away and still have it mean anything.

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protected by RegDwigнt Apr 11 '12 at 10:55

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