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I’d Like Some Time, Anytime

Writers often confuse the words anytime and any time. As is the case with anyone and any one, you need to pay attention to what you mean to say. Anytime means “at any time whenever.” But you would use any time when you are talking about the noun time.

The same problems crop up with sometime (adverb or adjective) and some time. As with any time, you would use some time when you are speaking about the noun time. The following are correctly written:

  • I’d like to go to the beach sometime.
  • Sometime last night the burglar broke into my house.
  • He’s a sometime father, only coming over when he feels like it.
  • I need some time to write.
  • It will take some time to get over her.
  • I don’t have any time left in my day.
  • You could see her anytime you like.

Although you might think the word anymore would follow the same rules,  it’s pretty much a toss-up in terms of usage choice. In recent decades it’s become common to use anymore pretty much anytime with anyone. So although it’s more common to write “I can’t eat any more ice cream,” you can write “I can’t eat anymore ice cream.” Although, I’d never write either, because I always find room for ice cream.

Negative, Continuous, and Passive Forms of Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is one we often use without thinking. But often writers use it incorrectly in writing, so it is worthwhile to take a close look at this interesting “mood” we use all the time.  This structure is used not only for positive statements but also with negative, continuous, and passive constructs.

Negative Examples:

  • The boss insisted that John not be at the meeting.
  • The company asked that employees not accept personal phone calls during business hours.
  • I suggest that you not take the job without renegotiating the salary.

Passive Examples:

  • Matt recommended that Debbie be hired immediately.
  • Lee demanded that I be allowed to take part in the negotiations.
  • We suggested that you be admitted to the organization.

Continue Reading…

Another Look at the Subjunctive Mood

Let’s take a further look into the subjunctive mood, since there are often places in our writing where this “mood” is just what we need. The thing to remember about using the subjunctive structure is that it is used for imaginary or hypothetical conditions. Think for a moment about the difference between these sentences:

  • If I was home, I would have caught the intruder.
  • If I were home, I would have caught the intruder.
  • If I had been home, I would have caught the intruder.

In the first example, it’s assumed the statement could possibly have been true; it’s not an imaginary or hypothetical situation. If, in truth, I was home at the time, I would have caught that intruder.

In the second example, the subjunctive signals the reader that this situation is only hypothetical. It implies: I wish I had been home, for if I had been, I would have caught that bad guy.

The third sentence is again a realistic possibility. It isn’t a wish. I’m stating that yes, if I had been home, I would have caught the intruder. Continue Reading…