I recently came across Writing Explained, a grammar website that can be an invaluable resource for authors. This little gem is from one of their posts. If you enjoy learning about the English language’s intricacies, this is the perfect website for you!
So, 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.
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.
Anymore as an Adverb
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.
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 when referring to 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.
In British English, however, it is still quite common to see “any more” (two words) as an adverb in print.
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.
For some more great tips, check out Writing Explained. Many thanks to Sebastian for the link!