19 November 2021
Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher we answer a question from Yoo Yoo in Somalia.
What are the differences between "any longer," "anymore" and "no longer?"
Yoo Yoo, Somalia.
Dear Yoo Yoo,
Thank you for writing to us. These three expressions are similar. So, they may cause some misunderstandings among learners. Although the three expressions have the same meaning, you should be careful how you use them. They must be used in different kinds of statements or questions. Let us look at them more closely.
"Any longer" is an adverb, that is, it gives us more information about the action in a statement or question. It means that something that was once true or possible is not now true or possible. Here is an example:
Because of the coronavirus, we can't sit close together in the movies any longer.
Note that the sentence has a negative (can't). You will only find this expression in questions or statements with a negative. Here is a question using "any longer." "Don't" is the negative.
Don't you go to that store any longer?
"Anymore" is an adverb when written as one word, meaning that something that was once true is not true. For example,
Chris and Sandy are not dating anymore.
When people write "any more" as two words, it describes an amount of something. Here is an example:
Do we have any more ice cream?
If you are unsure, look for the negative and for the location of "any more" – is it at the end? Here is the same question with the adverb "anymore:"
Don't we have ice cream anymore?
This question has a negative, "not" and "anymore" is at the end.
Finally, the expression "no longer" appears in statements or questions without other negative words. The word "no" is a negative already. Here is one example:
I will no longer eat pizza before going to bed – it gives me bad dreams!
Note that "no longer" can appear in the middle of a sentence.
I hope this answers your question, Yoo Yoo, so you will no longer have problems with these three expressions.
What question do you have about American English? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And that's Ask a Teacher.
I'm Jill Robbins.
Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
negative – n. a word or statement that means "no" or that expresses a denial or refusal
sentence – n. group of words that expresses a statement, question, command, or wish
Note: "Any longer" can also be used as an adjective – to describe the length of an object or period of time. That is a question for another time.
Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.