Recently, I was auto-corrected by a word processor when I typed in "now days" to "nowadays." Why did it do this to me? "Nowadays" looks and sounds silly, incorrect, and made-up to me.

Which version is appropriate? Which is most appropriate? Where did the word "nowadays" even come from?

  • 1
    You can look it up. As for why word processors do what they do: they're cursed. Don't use them. End of the world predicted: film at eleven. – MetaEd Dec 21 '12 at 16:25
  • 4
    What does now days mean? Nowadays. – Matt E. Эллен Dec 21 '12 at 16:25
  • 2
    I suppose someone did make this up... sometime in the 14th century. – J.R. Dec 21 '12 at 16:34
  • 1
    @MετάEd: didn't you hear? Film cancelled, due to unforeseen apocalypse. – Tim Lymington Dec 21 '12 at 17:47
  • @MattЭллен I'm assuming now days means what it does in context like: I waited, but now days have passed and I'm not seeing any progress. books.google.com/ngrams/… – dlamblin Jul 14 '14 at 19:10

Nowadays, the word is nowadays. You can find it in any dictionary (unlike now days). The better ones will also have the etymology:

late 14c., contracted from Middle English nou adayes (mid-14c.), from now + adayes "during the day," with adverbial genitive (see day).

As you can see, it used to be two words — seven centuries ago.

The Corpus of Contemporary American English does have a few cites for now days, but frankly, just look at the figures yourself:

 nowadays    3167
 now days       7

And here are the figures from the British National Corpus:

 nowadays    1556
 now days       0

That's how tiny a minority you're in. For once, the spellchecker is actually right.

  • 3
    This is a good analysis. It looks like hardly anyone uses two words now days. – J.R. Dec 21 '12 at 16:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.