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While the word anymore is usually a negative context, the positive anymore is a well-documented phenomenon. I found this surprising, because I had never come across the positive anymore in a conversational or written context before. I consulted Bryan M. Garner's Dictionary of Modern American Usage, which seemed to suggest that the positive use of anymore can be considered correct.

My question to you: is the positive use of anymore considered correct spoken/standard written English?

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    Nope, it is not. I have heard any more used in this way, and I always have to think twice before I "oh, that". Note also that standard spelling is two words, with a space: perhaps not using a space in the positive use could be used to mark it as such? – Cerberus Apr 19 '15 at 15:38
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    @Cerberus Standard spelling by which standards? British? Spelling anymore as one word is commonplace in American English. – Newb Apr 19 '15 at 15:40
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    @DanBron It's fairly common, or at least understood, in the upper Midwest. My wife finds it grating and would never use it, but has no trouble grasping what it means. – Jim Mack Apr 19 '15 at 16:11
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    It's a dialectal feature, and quite common. No grammar problems with it, but many people don't speak that dialect. The only difference is that any more is not a negative polarity item and therefore can occur without a licensing negative. Rather like saying I have ever been there; disorienting. But for people who speak this dialect, any more simply means nowadays, and it implies there has been a change of state, just like NPI any more; it's just not presupposed to be a negative change. So my mother (born 1914, Clinton, IA) could say I take all my cleaning there any more. – John Lawler Apr 19 '15 at 16:22
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    @JohnLawler I wonder if it's possible to use anymore to construct a sentence which means different things to speakers of different dialects. Like a verbal version of the blue-dress/gold-dress optical illusion. Anyway, your comment is worthy of conversion to an answer. (And even though I now know what it means, your mom's use of "any more" in that sentence still momentarily confused me. It's really hard for me to make it mean what I know it means.) – Dan Bron Apr 19 '15 at 16:36
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Here is what Bryan Garner, Garner's Modern American Usage, second edition (2003) says about anymore used in the sense of "nowadays":

anymore. A. Meaning "now." In the sense "now," "nowadays," or "still," the word anymore fits in three contexts: (1) negative declaratives {you don't bring me flowers anymore}, (2) yes–no questions {Do you go there anymore?}, and (3) hypothetical clauses introduced by whether or if {I wonder whether they go there anymore}. In sense 1, the meaning is "now" or "nowadays"; in senses 2 and 3, the meaning is "still." When anymore is used in some other type of positive statement (not in sense 2 or 3), it is dialectal—e.g., "The price of housing is outrageous anymore {read these days or nowadays}." In a [1986] linguistic study of Missourians, informants considered this dialectal usage "well established though controversial." [Citation omitted.] That mans that the informants were all familiar with it, but many didn't like it. The findings would probably hold throughout most of the United States.

Garner notes that anymore is standard in U.S. English when it appears in negative constructions ("Don't do X anymore"), in questions ("are they X anymore?"), and in hypotheticals ("whether we X anymore"). But in positive declarative statements such as "People are rude anymore," Garner holds (accurately, in my opinion) that the usage is not standard across U.S. English, but dialectal.

The form of expression has been around for a long time, as is evident from these examples reported in Harold Wentworth, American Dialect Dictionary (1944):

1903 s.e.Penn[sylvania] Lancaster Co[unty] There's just only this one any more. Martin 'Ellie's Furnishing.' ... 1929 Iowa 'Any more I don't like the boughten [ice cream].' Characteristic. K. Buxbaum. 1930s w.cent.W[est] V[irginia] Charleston We still use that custom anymore. 1931 s.w.Penn[sylvania] It's quite warm anymore..It's pretty poor anymore..Anymore I never see him. ... 1932 cent.Ill[inois] Dewitt Co[unty] 'We used to go to Weldon Springs for picnics, but any more we go to Salt Creek.'Common. C. W. Carter, Jr. ...

Although Wentworth indicates that Northern Appalachia (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Kentucky) is the primary locus of such usage, he also finds instances from New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Kansas, southern Ontario, Michigan, Montana, and (as noted above) Iowa and Illinois. The examples of dialectal any more in American Dialect Dictionary, despite being set in small type, come close to filling two complete print pages. Still, notwithstanding such wide distribution, the expression remains dialectal—and Wentworth reports no instances from New England, the Pacific states, much of the interior West, the Southwest, and much of the South.

So the answer to your question "is the positive use of anymore considered correct spoken/standard written English?" seems to be that it may be considered so by English speakers for whom the dialectal use is natural, but not by others. And as Garner remarks, even in areas (such as Missouri) where the usage is currently familiar to many people, "many didn't like it."

  • Your first quote says that in negative declaratives, the meaning is now or nowadays. I really don't think that's precise enough; many sentences that work with nowadays don't work with anymore: "Although they were predicted in multitudinous science fiction movies of the 20th century, we don't have flying cars anymore." – Peter Shor May 23 '17 at 20:35
  • @PeterShor: I'm pretty sure that Garner would agree with you on that point. My sense is that he is saying that anymore can function nondialectally in the sense of "now, nowadays, or still" in certain situations involving (for example) negative constructions—but that doesn't mean that anymore is interchangeable with every acceptable instance of one of those words in a negative construction. Thus, we can say "You still haven't answered my question" in standard English, but not "You anymore haven't answered my question." – Sven Yargs May 23 '17 at 20:52
  • I'm pretty sure he would, too. But that's a mistake that people not used to positive anymore make when they think it is a synonym of nowadays. In most dialects which have it, it means now, but not earlier. (I say most because there might be exceptions, although I haven't encountered any.) – Peter Shor May 23 '17 at 22:12
  • @PeterShor: That's a very interesting definition. I applied it to the many examples in Wentworth's _American Dialect Dictionary, and found only one instance where that definition clearly doesn't prevail—in the 1930s Charleston, West Va. quotation, "We still use that custom anymore." A 1935 citation from Elmira, N.Y., offers this translation, which matches the definition you give: "'I like that anymore' = Now I like it; formerly I did not or was in doubt. 'We go there all the time anymore,' 'We do that any more' = We go, & do, now but did not formerly." ... – Sven Yargs May 24 '17 at 4:26
  • ... On the other hand, a 1939 citation from Huntington, West Va. says this: "Chiefly spoken. More rural than urban. Very common. Quite spontaneous. Not the opposite of not any more. Does not necessarily imply that the opposite was formerly true." It thus seems that the expression could be used in different ways in different locales, including (often) "now but not earlier" and (sometimes) "now and perhaps also in the past." I have never lived in a place where this way of using anymore was common, so the fine points of its usage are a mystery to me. – Sven Yargs May 24 '17 at 4:34
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The reasons are specifically because of the niche "anymore" plays in speech. We have more popular adverbs that serve the positive definition: nowadays, typically, usually, normally.

The use of anymore is certainly common to midwestern (spoken) dialects and would certainly be correct. But as with anything dialectical, it's best to use a more broadly accepted alternative in speech anymore...

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I would say (as all expert references do) that it's "incorrect" to use "anymore" in a positive (versus negative) construction. But it does occur in regional dialect (I had a friend from Massillon, Ohio who used it positively, as if she'd never heard the word "nowadays".) A similar one is "might could be" for "maybe"...an obvious redundancy, but one that people do use, particularly in the southern U.S. Another from the same region is the use of "coke" for any soft drink, as in, "I'll have an orange coke."

  • I have heard "coke" used as a blanket term for soft drinks; but I have never heard anyone ask for an "orange coke." Maybe something more like, "Let's go have some cokes; I'll have an orange pop." – David Bowling May 11 '17 at 23:19
  • @DavidBowling Yup, say "orange coke" anymore and you will be laughed at. (which isn't the any more in "you're out of orange soda, do you have any more in the back?". And Geem, as far as I know, alls us that use might could be also use maybe. We jus got maybe 20 more modals, and that was some hard doin'. We's sure not about to go and lose any. – Phil Sweet May 12 '17 at 20:18
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I've always thought there's a distinct difference between "any more" (two words) and "anymore" (one word), illustrated by the following sentence: "I'm sorry, we don't have any more widgets, because the company doesn't make them anymore." The single word "anymore" is strictly a temporal adverb.

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    I'm not sure you understood that question asked about the use of "anymore" to mean"nowadays". Example: "Anymore, we stay home and watch Netflix instead of going out to the movies." It's Midwestern U.S. dialect. Not everyone uses "anymore" this way. The question is asking whether this usage is considered correct standard English. – user227547 May 16 '17 at 4:21

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