Writing for Business


January 9, 2013  9:32 PM

More on positive “anymore”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

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)[6] (From  The English Dialect Dictionary, 1898)

And spots it again, getting on for the turn of the 21st century:

“I’ll be getting six or seven days’ holiday anymore.” (Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981)[3]

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.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

January 8, 2013  9:08 PM

Is it OK to use “anymore” other than in negative constructions? I’m not positive anymore.

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
I take pictures with my smartphone more often than my camera _________.
a. these days
b. anymore

Continued »


January 7, 2013  5:35 PM

Is that “brand-new” or “bran-new”? And why do we say it, anyway?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
If you’re designing a ________ data center, green tech should be a priority.
a. brand-new
b. bran-new
c. new

Continued »


December 21, 2012  10:33 PM

Is the rule changing on “comprised of”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

I had a comment, a while back, on this post about “comprised of.” The correspondent wrote that, contrary to my conclusion, “comprised of” is acceptable in the UK. I know these things differ, so I had a look around.

This Wikipedian, who seems to have a mission, explored the issue deeply and came up with the result that, no “comprised of” is not acceptable grammar, not in North America, the UK, or anywhere else.
***

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar


December 21, 2012  10:27 PM

Have you heard tell of “hear tell”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Have you heard tell of “heard tell”? “Tell” is an archaic word meaning “news.”

The Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Language offers this example: “Well, my ould man, did’ee see or hear tell of sich a thing as a portmantle?”

My dad used “heard tell” when I was young and it was not uncommon, back in the day, usually in the negative, to say “I’ve never heard tell of it.” You rarely hear it these days but I still like the sound of it.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar


December 21, 2012  10:15 PM

In regard to or in regards to?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
In _______ to your meeting request, could we hold off until the first of the year?
a. regard
b. regards

Continued »


December 21, 2012  2:14 PM

Supposed to or suppose to?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
I was _______ go to the staff party but, ironically, I had to work late.
a. suppose
b. supposed

Continued »


December 21, 2012  12:15 AM

‘Twas the night before Christmas — or should that be “t’was”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
_______ the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
a. ‘Twas
b. T’was

Continued »


December 12, 2012  2:15 AM

Santa Claus’s sleigh or Santa Claus’ sleigh?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
On December 24th, a lot of children can be found gazing out windows for a glimpse of _________ sleigh.
a. Santa Claus’
b. Santa Claus’s

Continued »


December 12, 2012  1:38 AM

Christmas vs. Xmas

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
There are a lot of holidays in December, not just ______ but also Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Lunar New Year, Santa Lucia Day and sometimes Ramadan.
a. Xmas
b. Christmas

Continued »


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