Friday, August 13, 2010

Can you read any more?

Or can't you read anymore?

This is a word that was formerly acceptable only as its split form, any more; however, it is now generally acceptable to use the combined form. It joins other such combinations as anyone, anything, anytime, anyway, and anywhere. However, there is an important distinction in which the separate form should be used. If referring to matters of quantity, the phrase should be two words. If one is full after a meal, the proper term would be, "I can't eat any more." If one is physically unable to eat, the phrase would be, "I can't eat anymore." The former refers to quantity, with the word "food" implied after "more," and "more" used as an adjective. In the latter, "anymore" is an adverb modifying the verb "eat."

Just to add a little confusion, anymore can have a regional meaning, specifically in the Midwest. I used it in speaking the other day and thoroughly confused the person I was speaking with. I can't remember the exact topic of the conversation, but a good example would be, "In Indiana, if you want to buy alcohol, it doesn't matter how old you look. You have to show your license anymore." In this case, it means "at the present time" or "nowadays." When I used it with my friend, they were very perplexed by what seemed to be a contradictory statement. They thought it would have made sense to have a negative in there: "You can't buy alcohol anymore unless you show your license." In that case, it would be using anymore as an adverb modifying buy. My usage was intended to show a time frame.

One of my sources says that such a usage "puzzles readers from other regions." I can testify to the truth of that! Other references state that it is not proper form in writing. As I thought about it, I don't believe it's anything that I use in writing. If I utilize that form, it is generally when speaking, which is when most colloquialisms and regional idioms are prone to "popping out."

Does anyone else here use anymore in that way? I know I'm not the only one. Here is a bevy of bathing beauties to prove it.

I rest my case.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today is Glorious Twelfth, which sees the opening of the grouse shooting season here in the United Kingdom. So, if someone has a good aim, what do you say? How many grouse did you bag? Well, there are a few different plurals for nouns ending in -ouse.

House - houses
Blouse - blouses
Mouse - mice
Louse - lice
Grouse - grouse

It is one of my fave jokes to ask "how many hice in this street are afflicted with mice... "