Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 10:10:47 EDT


Subject: Re: Usage: "any more" (fwd)

Thanks to Fred Shapiro for this useful information. Somehow after being dis-

appointed at 'any', I never thought of persisting and checking under 'more'.

But while the 1898 citation is a clear example,

Yes, _any more_ is in the OED, s.v. _more_ 4.a. The OED notes that "The

phrase _any more_ (freq. written as _anymore_) is also used in

affirmative as well as negative contexts in the sense `now, now-a-days,

at the present time; from now on'. _dial._ (chiefly U.S.)." The

earliest citations given are:

1898 _Eng. Dial. Dict._ I. 63/1 A servant being instructed how to act,

will answer `I will do it any more.'

The 1903 one is not. There's a negative polarity trigger here, viz. _only_.

1903 _McClure's Mag._ Dec. 215/1 There's just only this one any more.

While _only_ (and notice its pleonastic support by _just_ here) doesn't

license any old negative polarity item, it does license some, and there's known

to be idiolectal variation as to just which ones. Consider, inter alia,

I've only ever been there once.

My nose and my lungs are only alive at all because they are part of my

body and share its common life. [C.S. Lewis]

Of all your friends, only Chris would lift a finger to help you.

Only Kim ate any of the baklava.

These are all impeccable for me (but would be impossible without the _only_),

and indeed so were

The only thing you do anymore is complain.

You're the only one I care about anymore.

even before I was exposed to the "positive 'anymore'" dialect. The McClure's

example is not that great for me, but I can imagine other non-pos-anymore

speakers accepting and using it.