Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Anachronisms, anymore or any more, archaic speech and grammar, positive anymore
Yesterday I was writing about the use of anymore in positive constructions, as in “I write about grammar anymore.” The responses to that post were fairly evenly split between people who were shocked that anyone would use the word that way and people who were surprised that anyone might think that use wrong.
I understood positive anymore to be used as a synonym for “these days” or “nowadays.” It seems that it’s also sometimes used to mean “from now on.” The Wikipedia entry for positive anymore traces that use back to Northern Ireland at the turn of the 20th century:
“A servant being instructed how to act, will answer ‘I will do it any more’.” (Northern Ireland, c. 1898) (From The English Dialect Dictionary, 1898)
And spots it again, getting on for the turn of the 21st century:
From the Wikipedia entry: “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.” According to some linguists, it came to North America through Scottish/Irish sources.
On his linguistics blog, Ryan Denzer-King writes that “anymore” is what is called a negative polarity item (NPI): “NPIs are words or phrases that have to be scoped under some sort of negation, irrealis, or otherwise nonaffirmative clause.”
So, that’s where we are with that issue anymore … er, that anymore issue.
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