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Should I lament anymore for any more?

by: Garry Pierrepont (19 August 2008)

I have been perplexed in the last couple of years. In proofreading many documents I have come across the word anymore more than I ever used to. In my mind there was no such word, and it should be expressed as two separate words: any more.

I decided to conduct in-depth research.

A search on the Internet (itís so easy) revealed the word anymore described as an adverb, with examples of its differentiation from any more, such as:

"I don't buy books anymore because I don't need any more books." (found at http://alt-usage-english.org/anymore.html).

Did that mean that the word anymore really is a word?

I did notice that English websites tended to lean towards any more, but American websites were totally confident and free with their use and definition of anymore.

A trip to my local library followed, and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) second edition (1989) (many volumes) had no sign of the word anymore. Anyhow was followed by anyplace (strangely, there was no room for anyone either!). However, under the definition for more there was a reference to the phrase any more, saying it was frequently written anymore, as an adverb.

I still wasnít convinced, as anymore wasnít in the main listing in the OED.

Next, I checked the New Oxford Dictionary of English (a modest single volume) (1998). Here anymore was listed, with the definition: adverb, chiefly N.Amer., variant of any more.

It seems fairly clear to me now. Anymore can be used as an adverb instead of anymore for North American writing. For writing in non-North American regions it is more correct to use any more as an adverb.

Thus, in my proofreading I will be making corrections accordingly!

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