The Grammarphobia Blog

Are you ready for any more anymore?

Q: In your posting about the positive use of “anymore,” you caution against confusing “anymore” with “any more.” But one of your examples (“If you shout anymore, I’ll scream”) uses “anymore” where I (an Australian) would use “any more.” Am I misguided? Or is this a British vs. US thing?

A: In American English the one-word version, “anymore,” is standard usage for the adverb meaning “nowadays,” “any longer,” or “still.” And that’s how we used it in our posting.

The two-word version, “any more,” is standard in the US for the adjectival or noun phrases meaning “any additional” or “anything additional.”

But you’re right. This is indeed a British vs. US thing, though the British usage appears to be moving in the American direction.

The following sentences are considered standard in American English:

(1) “I can’t believe that you’re hungry anymore!” (Here, “anymore” is an adverb meaning “any longer” or “still.”)

(2) “If you eat any more hot dogs, you’ll explode.” (Here, “any more” is an adjectival phrase meaning “any additional.”)

(3) “Are you full or do you want any more?” (Here, “any more” is a noun phrase meaning “anything additional.”)

In explaining the US practice, Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd ed.) says the adverb “anymore” conveys a sense of time while the phrase “any more” conveys a sense of quantities or degrees.

As we said, however, the American view of sense #1 is not universal.

A British source, Fowler’s Modern English Usage (revised 3rd ed.), notes that there are “sharp divisions” over whether to use one word or two for the adverb.

Fowler’s says American English “and other forms of English outside the UK tend to favour anymore, and this form is now being adopted by some British writers and publishing houses.”

However, the usage guide notes that the “majority of authors and printers in the UK … still print any more for this … sense.”

Another US source, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage says the one-word version is more common for sense #1, but it’s OK to use either one or two words for the adverb:

“Both anymore and any more are found in current written use. Although usage prescribers disagree about which form to use, the one-word styling is the more common. Feel free to use it as two words, if you prefer.”

The standard dictionaries we use most often—The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.)—list only one spelling, “anymore,” for the adverb.

In a usage note, Merriam-Webster’s adds: “Although both anymore and any more are found in written use, in the 20th century anymore is the more common styling.”   

The Oxford English Dictionary spells the adverb as two words, “any more,” but notes that since the 19th century it has also been spelled “anymore.”

One last comment. With “than,” the two-word version is always used: “I don’t like shouting any more than you do.”

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