Recently I’ve started seeing the word ‘anymore’ written as one word instead of two. But I don’t think that’s correct in British English. Or is it?
The first time I noticed it, I assumed it was because the book I was reading was by an American author. Nonetheless, it grated. I was still pondering when I noticed it a second time – a few times, in fact – in the next book I read, this time by the British author Chris Cleave. Was it bad editing? Was I reading an American English edition? No, neither explanation made sense. And once I’d started thinking about it, I couldn’t stop seeing it – it seems to have been used in every book I’ve read since. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before!
Perhaps I’ve been wrong all this time. Unconvinced, I turned to my Two Massive Dictionaries. Oxford has it listed separately, saying it’s a “chiefly N. Amer. variation of any more” and Collins lists “any more, or esp US anymore“. That confirms my hunch that it’s a US English variant – so why are British authors using it? And how recently has this become the norm?
I googled, but was surprised not to see more debate. This English usage website is one of very few to mention it. Author Bob Cunningham says that the use of one word vs two is “disputed” and confirms that it’s a variant in British English, but he also suggests that some US English speakers use the two ways of spelling for different reasons:
The difference between the two meanings is illustrated in the sentence: “I don’t buy books anymore because I don’t need any more books.”
This makes sense, I suppose – and I would like there to be a good reason for using one over the other, as with ‘everyday’ and ‘every day’ – but… no, I’m sorry. It still looks really wrong to me.
Perhaps our language is just evolving to include ‘anymore’ as a word. After all, we use ‘anyone’ and ‘anyway’ without second thought. But if that’s the case, I’d expect there to be at least a tiny uproar about it; our language doesn’t tend to change without complaints and Americanisms don’t usually creep in unnoticed.
Or do they?
Where are the pedants? What’s going on here?