My recent post on correcting grammar has struck a chord.
My friend and former editor Alan got me thinking:
How do you feel about Positive Anymore, Roger?
I had not heard the term before, to be honest. But I have heard this construction. From the Wikipedia article, it “is the use of the adverb anymore in an affirmative context. While any more (also spelled anymore) is typically a negative/interrogative polarity item used in negative, interrogative, or hypothetical contexts, speakers of some dialects of English use it in positive or affirmative contexts, with a meaning similar to nowadays or from now on.”
I’d better show some of their examples.
1 “A servant being instructed how to act, will answer ‘I will do it any more‘.” (Northern Ireland, c. 1898)
2 “Any more, the difference between a white-collar worker and a blue-collar worker is simply a matter of shirt preference.” (Madison, Wisconsin, 1973)
3 “Everything we do anymore seems to have been done in a big hurry.” (Kingston, Ontario, 1979)
4 “I’ll be getting six or seven days’ holiday anymore.” (Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981)
5 “Anymore we watch videos rather than go to the movies.” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1991)
Its use as from now on in the first and fourth sentence sounds wrong, as though the word not was left out in error. The usage in sentence three, as nowadays (or these days), sounds oddly familiar and colloquially acceptable to me. Yet the same word in the beginning (sentences 2 and 5) bugs me. Maybe it suggests that the sentence is going in another direction, such as “Any more, do you have bread?”
Then Alan requested:
Can the other part [of my post] be people who say “whenever” when they mean when?
This one I had not heard at all. Its usage suggests an indefinite time, but they’re talking about a specific timeframe. A regional variation, apparently, but I don’t much like it. It’s two extra syllables that do not convey any more or different information. But it’s all I have to say about that.
Tim, who I remember from back in the days (March 2020) we used to sing in the choir together, quips:
I prefer the brand of macaroni and cheese that is more cheesier. Then there is the -ly being chopped off most adverbs these days.
As I noted way back here: There are rules for forming comparative and superlative adjectives. One-syllable adjectives generally add -er or -est. “For adjectives with three syllables or more, you form the comparative with more and the superlative with most.”
The adjectives with two syllables are… complicated.” The ones ending with -y, -er, -le, or -ow generally use -er and -est, though one changes the -y to -i.
But cutting off the -ly sounds more informal than wrong. “I’m gonna come back real quick.” “She steered that boat real smooth.” The meaning is clear. Incidentally, I came across an article Errors in the use of adverbs. For at least two of the examples, I shrugged, “Whatever.”
Incorrect: She angrily spoke.
Correct: She spoke angrily.
Adverbs of manner usually go in the end-position.
Not really something to concern me.
Descriptive versus prescriptive
My ferocious hearts competitor friend Janna indicates:
I tend to think corrections on my grammar pet peeves rather than pointing them out (except to my kids LOL). In this age of e-communication, I think many are the result of bad autocorrect.
Well, yes, some software corrections are overly zealous. I’ve used Grammarly for years, but I have vigorously disagreed with supposed errors of mine. I’m very forgiving of mistakes in contemporaneous speaking, particularly with noun/verb agreement. On the other hand, I’m much fussier over a formal address.
Alison, who I was once related to – or to whom I was…, if you insist – correctly notes:
Well, there’s descriptive grammar and prescriptive grammar and some of the latter was imposed on the language by a dude who thought English should follow Latin grammar. It’s class-related also so my opinion is that prescriptive grammar is only necessary for formal or academic settings- except for “normalcy.” That’s an abomination.
Agreed. I noted here that the creative use of y’all, et al. for the second person plural you “is not the failure of the speakers, it’s the failure of the language.