The English language is full of confusing words that mix up writers. Words that are spelled alike, sound alike, have similar meanings, etc.
In today’s post, I want to talk about anymore vs. any more.
What is the Difference Between Anymore and Any more?
The traditional (although now less common) spelling is as two separate words: any more. In the last 50 years or so, the single word anymore has increased in use and a distinction between the one-word and two-word spellings has emerged.
In this post, I will talk about the traditional uses of any more vs. anymore and use example sentences to demonstrate each of their meanings. I will outline the newly formed distinction between the two and give you a tip to remember the difference.
Any more as a Determiner
What does any more mean? When any more is used to mean an indefinite quantity of something or even the smallest amount, it is functioning as a determiner. For example,
- Do you want any more food?
- Is there any more pie left?
- I can’t eat any more food; I am completely stuffed.
- I don’t want any more trouble.
- Forcing people to wait until 67 to collect wouldn’t save taxpayers any more money than the 30 percent cut to the benefit at age 62 does. –The New York Times
Any more is only used in questions and negative statements describing the quantity of something. The two-word spelling is near universal when this meaning is implied.
There are other contexts, too, where the words must be kept separate. For instance,
- You can’t play basketball any more than I can fly an airplane.
If the two words were together in the above example, the meaning would change and the sentence would be confusing. It wouldn’t be clear whether you are saying that you can no longer play basketball or you are making a comparison between abilities.
Another example is when more modifies a following adjective, any must be a separate word.
- It doesn’t get any more exciting than overtime in the finals!
Anymore as an Adverb
What does anymore mean? When anymore is used to mean to any further extent; any longer, it is functioning as an adverb. For example,
- I don’t go sailing anymore.
- There is nothing for me here—not anymore.
- The price of gasoline isn’t cheap anymore.
Anymore, as an adverb, should only find itself in negative constructions.
You should not use it in an affirmative context to mean nowadays. In certain parts of the United States, it is occasionally used this way.
- The price of gasoline is outrageous anymore. [read: the price of gasoline is outrageous nowadays.]
This use is certain to confuse your readers—even those in the United States—and is widely rejected. You should avoid this use in your writing.
Anymore vs. Any more: Helpful Distinctions
In American English and other forms of English outside the U.K., there is a useful distinction that separates any more vs. anymore.
Any more (two words) is reserved for the meaning even the smallest amount. In other words, when used as a determiner, the two-word spelling any more is used.
- I don’t want any more children.
Anymore (one word) is reserved for the meaning any longer. In other words, when used as an adverb, the one-word spelling anymore is used.
- You’re not a little kid anymore.
I, personally, find this distinction to be quite helpful, and most American writers and publishing houses observe it.
In British English, it is still quite common to see any more (two words) as an adverb in print. This is beginning to change, however, as some British writers and publishing houses opt to observe the distinction between the one-word and two-word spellings.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Still not sure when to use anymore or any more? Here’s a helpful mnemonic to remember the difference.
I don’t buy shoes anymore because I don’t need any more shoes.
This is a great sentence that demonstrates the uses of anymore and any more. When you are using the word to mean any longer, think the one-word anymore.
When you are talking about numbers and quantities, think the two-word spelling any more.
Is it any more or anymore? This depends on its function within the sentence. In American English,
Any more is used as a determiner.
Anymore is used as an adverb.