Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WNW: It Bugs Me Anymore

Some time ago, Erin asked whether any words were particular peeves of mine.

I could easily list of a bunch of broken rules that are peeves (many I've discussed here at Word Nerd Wednesday), but while I knew I had word peeves, I couldn't think of any offhand.

Then I heard one misuse over and over. That's it, I decided. Time to post that one. It's just one word, but a word that is constantly misused and has therefore become a hated one for me:


I know, random, right?

But it's used incorrectly so often that it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. (The title of this post is yelling at me to change it.)

When anymore is correctly used, we refer to a way something once was, and then state it in the negative: It's not that way ANYMORE. Things have changed.

For example:

When I got my driver's license, gas was about a dollar a gallon. You can't buy gas that cheaply anymore.

I learned to type in high school, but with the advancement of technology, that's not early enough anymore. Kids needs to learn keyboarding skills in grade school.


What drives me absolutely bonkers is when people use anymore to mean nowadays. It's like they're skipping over the how it used to be part and landing on the anymore part.

Skip all you want.

Just don't use that word if you aren't using it in the negative sense.

WRONG examples:

Anymore, gas is so expensive.

Kids need to learn to type younger and younger anymore.

Shudder. Just writing those out makes me want to hurl something against a wall. Do you see why the post title is wrong? I hope?

When someone uses anymore incorrectly, they're thinking back on how something has changed, sure, but they aren't mentioning the current situation in the negative. There is no clear reference to the past. There is no anymore.

Easy tip:

Use anymore if you're using both sides of a direct comparison ("Things used to be like this, but they have changed and aren't like that anymore"), or if you're referring simply referring to a fact that HAS CHANGED and do so IN THE NEGATIVE ("They aren't as friendly anymore").

Use nowadays if you're just jumping ahead and discussing how things are now without a direct or implied comparison of how things have changed: "My kids do the lawn mowing nowadays." Note that we can guess that things used to be different, but there's no negative saying so. (Hence, no anymore.)

Here's the correct usage of both in two situations:

I don't mow the lawn anymore.
My kids mow it nowadays.

This radio station plays the weirdest stuff nowadays.
I prefer classic rock, but this station doesn't play it anymore.

Make sense?

My nerves thank you in advance.


Kristina P. said...

Who uses it like that? Weird.

Jordan said...

Yeah, I don't think I've ever heard it like that.

Which guarantees I will this week.

Rebecca Blevins said...

I think I've heard that once or twice. It's not too common here. I'm glad, or I would go insane!

A really big one that drives me nuts is saying something "needs washed" or "needs fixed" or "needs edited". (That last one is actually on a professional editor's website!) That one is going to send me to the looney bin.

Susan Anderson said...

My relatives from Utah and Idaho both used the word in that sense. And yes, it did drive me crazy.


T.J. said...

Who talks like that? Probably teenagers.

Annette Lyon said...

I've heard it most from older Utah & Idaho people, so it might be regional.

Rebecca, "needs washed" is another major peeve of mine--and I hear that from the exact same people who use "anymore" incorrectly!

TisforTonya said...

ack ack ack!!! ManOfTheHouse and I go round and round about the Needs Washed issue (nope, sorry hon, I refuse to supply the "to be" mentally... just say it -- although admittedly my "needs washing" wasn't correct either)

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

It just blows my mind that anyone could use that wrong. Seriously.

Don said...

This is closely related to the Midwest Usetacould.

As in:

We usetacould talk any way we wanted, but nowadays with the Word Nerd and all we just can't talk the way we please anymore.

Helena said...

Ooh, yes, that's a good one.

Erin said...

Even reading your title, I was thinking, "Wow, either that's a typo or she's doing something that bugs her (and me)." :)

Sherri said...

Thought you were alluding to Edgar Allan Poe in the title, but I think that nevermore.

Krista said...

I have definitely heard it used at the beginning of a sentence.
"Anymore, you almost have to suspect teens are up to something."
It's conversational (and wrong), but I don't think I would write it. I hope not. It's awkward.

I'll count on you to point it out. ;D

AS Amber said...

I had no idea there was a correct way to use that word! I'm certain I've used it incorrectly A. Lot. I'm glad I popped over here today! If for no other reason than to make sure I don't irritate you the next time we're together!

In related news, I HATE the word "nowadays"! I'll never use it. Can I say "these days" instead? Please?

Incidentally, I did a post today you might find interesting....

Sarah M Eden said...

I had never heard it used that way until we moved to Utah. I think it really is a regional quirk. But, yeah, makes me cringe.

Jessica G. said...

I took a linguistics class at BYU and for special credit we helped out with a study of the Utah accents. I had to ask participants about fifteen different questions about "anymore" so I can't stand the word...anymore.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Great tips, Annette. Whenever I read "anymore" used the wrong way, it reminds me of how people talk out in Hickville. =)

Melanie Jacobson said...

I've only known one guy who used it like that and he was a Wisconsonite. maybe it's a Midwest thing? Anyway, it totally drove me nuts, too. I feel you.

My current word peeve: there is no such thing as a worldwind, people.

See Mom Smile said...

Yea I think I actually use that word correctly. But now I don't know anymore. I am so confused.

Anna Maria Junus said...

I've never heard it used like that.

I'm wondering, how do you react to language changing? Words take on new meanings, phrases change and become something new, new words are introduced and slang becomes real words in dictionaries.

If that's the case, who's to say what's right and wrong?

And although I wouldn't use the word anymore the way you've illustrated it in regular writing, in dialogue there aren't any rules.


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