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Positive anymore

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Title: Positive anymore  
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Subject: Western Pennsylvania English, Mid-Atlantic American English, Midland American English, English language
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Positive anymore

Positive anymore is the use of the adverb anymore in an affirmative context.[1] While any more 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,[notes 1] with a meaning similar to nowadays or from now on.[1]

Positive anymore occurs in some varieties of North American English, especially in the Midlands variety spoken in parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri; its usage extends to Utah and some other western U.S. states.[2]

Positive anymore also occurs in parts of Ireland and Northern Ireland.[3]

Some linguists theorize that the North American usage derives from Irish or Scots-Irish sources.[4][5]


The following examples illustrate the use of positive anymore in Irish or American English speech, as recorded by lexicographers or sociolinguists.

  • "A servant being instructed how to act, will answer 'I will do it any more'." (Northern Ireland, c. 1898)[6]
  • "Any more, the difference between a white collar worker and a blue collar worker is simply a matter of shirt preference." (Madison, Wisconsin, 1973)[1]
  • "Everything we do anymore seems to have been done in a big hurry." (Kingston, Ontario, 1979)[1]
  • "I'll be getting six or seven days' holiday anymore." (Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1981)[3]
  • "Anymore we watch videos rather than go to the movies." (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1991)[7]


  1. ^ This refers to morphosyntactic context, and not necessarily to connotation. Positive anymore may express negative feelings about a situation, but it is not a negative polarity item, which can occur only with a negative word such as not or doesn't.


  1. ^ a b c d "any more, adv.". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2002. 
  2. ^ Labov, William (1973), "Where do grammars stop?", in Shuy, Roger, Report on the Twenty-Third Annual Round Table Meeting on Linguistics and Language Studies, Washington: Georgetown University Press, pp. 43–88 
  3. ^ a b Trudgill, Peter (1984). Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Murray, Thomas E. (1993), "Positive anymore in the Midwest", in Fraser, Timothy C., "Heartland" English: Variation and Transition in the American Midwest, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, pp. 173–186 
  5. ^ Montgomery, Michael (2006). From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English. Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation. 
  6. ^ Wright, Joseph, ed. (1898). "any". The  
  7. ^ Wolfram, Walt; Schilling-Estes, Natalie (1998), American English: Dialects and Variation, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell 
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