Is this good grammar anymore?

This usage is slowly killing me, one miserable brain cell at a time, as my neurons commit ritual suicide each time their little synapses detect it’s utterance.

But, am I wrong in saying that it is an abuse of grammar? The normal references are eerily silent on the subject. Here’s an illustration:

“Is this good grammar anymore?” – The ‘anymore’ seems tacked on as an afterthought; an odd juxtaposition perhaps more akin to a verbal burp than a figure of speech, ya know? Compare to:

“Does anyone use good grammar anymore?” - Now that sounds better. My grey cells can rest easy. ‘Anymore’ here is clearly modifying the query slightly, indicating a demarcation in time.

Anyone care to wade in with a definitive answer?

I think for your first example a better choice would be “still” since “anymore” would seem to indicate “now and ongoing” and “still” is more like “at this point in time.” “Is this” is here and now, whereas “does” is now and ongoing, generally.

No, it’s bad usage. The usage is meant to express “nowadays,” as in “Everybody says it anymore.” It drives me nuts, too, but it’s apparently meant to replace “nowadays” by people who think it makes them sound too – uneducated, I guess. I can’t imagine why they think “anymore” sounds better when it’s used wrong.

Reminds me of my particular bugbear, which is people from Northern Ireland saying “Whenever” (continuous occurence) when they mean “When” (single occurence). E.g. “Whenever I was born”.

The one that bugs the hell out of me is “I am planning on taking the test” rather than “I plan to take the test.” It makes my teeth grate every time I hear it for no particular reason.

Since this is a grammar & usage thread–it should be “its”.

I’d always heard “anymore” used only in the negative sense: “People don’t do x, y, and z anymore.” In some parts of the country, however, it seems to be used just as often in the positive sense: “Things are so expensive anymore.”

Sounds flat-out wrong to me, but I’m not enough of a pedant to be able to say, definitively, why it’s wrong!

They are?

From The Careful Writer, by Theodore M. Bernstein

Adverbially, this phrase has the meaning of now or hereafter or further. It is properly used, however, only with an outright negative statement (“We don’t see each other any more”) , or with one that has a negative connotation (“We scarcely see each other any more”), or occasionally with a question (“Do you see him any more?”). With an affirmative statement, it is an unacceptable though not uncommon casualism: “The Little Gallery is exceedingly regretful about last week’s ad about how we’re going to be closed on Saturday instead of Monday any more”; “What’s the matter with the world anymore?”[/qupote]

From Usage and Abusage, by Eric Partridge

I don´t have any English grammar textbooks at hand to back my claim, but IMO “anymore” is used with a negative. Therefore, I believe “This is not good grammar anymore” would be correct, while the question requires a “still” (is this still good grammar?).
I´d say “anymore” is more or less the negation of “still”, but then again, IANA grammarian :slight_smile:

I hear this one less often, but yes, I’d place it squarely in the same category. Maddening, isn’t it?

Thanks, Exapno. I’ll add The Careful Writer to my list of usual references. I can now revel in the comforting knowledge that my displeasure is justified.

I really didn’t mean to hit Submit when I did. Glad that post is still understandable.

I was going to add that both Bernstein and Partridge are older, conservative authorities. It appears that the use of any more has changed (in fact, it is now written commonly as one word instead of two) and that it is probably not a huge issue in casual speech. Any more formal writing should still take care to avoid it, however.

A Google search on [“any more” anymore] produces a number of current references … concluding that it’s an ongoing contentious issue. As a UK English user, I was brought up to believe that “anymore” isn’t a word. But I’m reluctantly coming around to one of the possible US positions, that there’s a useful distinction:

“any more” = “any greater quantity”
“anymore” = “ever again”

For example:

“I’ve had six helpings of potato; I can’t eat any more”.
“Since I became allergic, I can’t eat potatoes anymore”.

Just don’t say “These are good, I like your potatoes anymore” and I’ll be happy.

I think so, yes. I rarely hear anybody using “anymore” with affirmative statements, and if I did I’m sure it would throw me, but I’m not so arrogant as to immediately assume that “I haven’t heard it used that way before” equals “abuse of grammar.” Spoken language doesn’t work that way.


Err, hazel, Exapno provided a couple of nice excerpts a few posts above that would seem to indicate there is some basis for declaring it incorrect. Your humility and your opinion are noted, but I think at this point, you should provide a cite to counter the two already given if you disagree.

Yes, I saw Exapno Mapcase’s quotes from style guides. But their basis for declaring it incorrect is assertion, not anything syntactic.

I realize the value of style guides, but I think in General Question terms it’s worth pointing out that they indicate social acceptability, not any intrinsic grammatical correctness.

You want the definitive answer on whether or not it is an abuse of grammar from a linguist’s point of view? No, it isn’t. My cite is native speakers such as yourself. You have obviously heard it enough times that, although you don’t especially like it, you both recognize it and know what it means.

No, I wouldn’t use it on my resumé or in a term paper.


hazel, I agree that language, and therefore grammar, are somewhat fluid, but not every common expression is necessarily grammatically correct. Using the ‘if it is in usage, it is correct’ rule, supposably no pacific word or phrase can ever be abused. I’ll go nucular whenever that happens. In other words, there is a difference between the evolution of a language, and simple misuse.

The goal is clear communication. If you wouldn’t include it on a resume or term paper, perhaps it isn’t so acceptable after all.

  • but not every common expression is necessarily grammatically correct.*

It may clarify things to say that linguistically there are two entities involved here …

grammar = observed general rule for a particular situation
idiom = phrases generally agreed as correct by long-standing usage

… which are more or less independent. English contains many constructions that most people would view as correct despite being ungrammatical. For instance, few people would insist on the grammatical “It is I”, because “It is me” has become accepted idiom.

I agree with hazel-rah that this particular question is not about grammar, but whether “anymore” = “nowadays” has become sufficiently established to be valid idiom.

The goal is not clear communication. The goal is communication, and I don’t always want to be clear! Sometimes I want to be indirect, or rude, or subtle, or equivocate, or flat out lie. Sometimes I want to use slang that deliberately excludes people who can hear me talking. Or I want to use casual modes of speech that make them feel welcome. Maybe I want to use a regionalism to telegraph that we come from the same place when we meet in a distant unfriendly land.

Sometimes, like on a resumé or a term paper, the goal is clear communication, and showing I can jump through the hoops. That’s what the style guide is for. The domain of a style guide is not the language in its entirety, and the minute any of them try to expand their territory I’m going to smack them down. I don’t need a style guide to talk to my mother or my friends. I own this language and I know how to make it do things that aren’t described in the manual.


Can I borrow just a few short words? Seriously, I didn’t mean to debate, though I don’t mind discussing it a bit. I essentially asked if a usage that sounded awkward enough to bother me was ‘proper’. Two style guides indicate no. Is it possible to communicate with improper usage? Sure. Leet, obscene gestures, pig latin… they will all work, but this does not make them Standard English. I wasn’t asking, “can these people be understood?” I was asking, “is this one of the generally accepted usages?”

I think you are so interested in sharing your feelings on the flexibility of language, that you missed what I was really asking. My goal is clear communication. You can have your own goal, but please don’t tell me mine.