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I would say that in South Africa, nowadays is rather quaint; something that perhaps Boomers and older or second language speakers would use. Unfortunately, I cautioned a student nearly a year ago against using it for this reason and I'm now doubting my advice.

Anecdotal confirmation from my career English teaching Boomer mother is that nowadays has fallen out of use in South Africa and googling "south africa" nowadays returns zero results including nowadays being used explicitly with the synonym today being substituted in the results. Saffers would probably use either these days or today in that order of preference instead of nowadays.

So my question is, how prevalent is nowadays amongst Yanks, Brits, Canucks, Aussies, and Kiwis? I'm seeing it all over the internet now because my attention is on it and it makes me cringe that I perhaps gave the wrong advice.

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  • I would find neither usage remarkable, here in the US. Not all that common, but not unusual.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 16:52
  • These days is a spondee with two stressed syllables; nowadays is an anapest with two unstressed and one stressed. Anapests take longer to say; spondees take more energy. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 17:00

2 Answers 2

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Ngram shows "nowadays" and "these days" are about equal in British English, while "nowadays" is about half as common as "these days" in American English.

I am American, and I would not say that "nowadays" is quaint.

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  • Yeah, it's just more casual/informal.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 17:13
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    I am British, and I would not find 'nowadays' at all quaint. I would, however, find 'Boomer' annoying. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 17:51
  • There is another word like Boomer, "gammon", which younger British people use pejoratively about older generations. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 20:05
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As a British native from Northern England, I don't find "nowadays" at all quaint or antiquated. Clearly, Americans and Saffers have a different feel.

I've learned three new words today: Saffer, spondee, anapest.

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