Anyway and anywayS

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DerKleineFreak

Member
German
Hey,

I only hear "anyways" if an american speak, but actually we learned "anyway" in school. Is it slang? Or can I use both of it?
 
  • Sabelotodo

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Anyways seems to be more and more common, but to me it sounds very strange. I always say anyway.

    I also say toward-- never towards, and beside--never besides. To my ear, adding an s to the end of these words sounds as bad as a double negative, but I hear people say them that way more often than not.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm an American who prefers anyway without the s, but I've heard it both ways. With the s, it sounds less formal to me, but it might just be a regional use.
     

    Pinkbeads

    Member
    English UK
    I would also say that 'anyways' never occurs in written English (to my knowledge), I think it is only used in informal speech.
     

    sterlingtexas

    New Member
    United States
    I think "anyways" is a slang version of "anyway". Other examples would be "anywhoo" and "anyhow". These are just made up words to emphasize the frustration or whatever feeling is behind "anyway".
     

    sterlingtexas

    New Member
    United States
    DerKleineFreak said:
    Hey,

    I only hear "anyways" if an american speak, but actually we learned "anyway" in school. Is it slang? Or can I use both of it?
    Let me add one more thing. This is more culture than grammar. First reaction in the US to a foreign speaker saying "anyways" likely would be that it was a cute, but clumsy, use of the language, especially in a formal setting.

    We often butcher the language to make a point or just play. That involves using wrong words, bad grammar or any number of things that would be considered very wrong in an English class. You should join in the fun too. It is part of the language. However, my advice is to keep it among friends at first. Save the "correct" version for the adults.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    DerKleineFreak said:
    Hey,

    I only hear "anyways" if an american speak, but actually we learned "anyway" in school. Is it slang? Or can I use both of it?
    According to Collins Dictionary, 'anyways' is a nonstandard Canadian or US word for 'anyway'. 'Anyways' is disapproved (and in my experience little used) in England.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Anyways, rather than anyway, is an archaic form. This would explain how it is now considered to be an AE variant.
    It has been used, not least by Dickens, to suggest colloquial speech.
    (Based on OED entries)

    Around here, anyways is regularly said by those whose roots lie closest to the land. But they would never use it in a formal context, and would never write it.
     

    SofiaB

    Senior Member
    English Asia
    DerKleineFreak
    The answer to your question: anyway is the accepted,formal, written form in all English. Anyways is Old English still in informal use especially rural areas in all English rare in some areas more common in others.
    Sabelotodo mentions:
    toward (also towards chiefly Canada/US, rare in UK/Ireland)
    besides in addition; as well beside next to
     

    nasridine

    Senior Member
    USA
    Chinese, China
    I watched Nacho Libre last week. Every time when Jack Black said "Anyways, .....", audience laugh at him. So I figured this must be a wrong version of "Anyway ...."\
    However, I found some people do use ANYWAYS which confused me.
    What is the difference between "anyway" and "anyways" then?
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I haven't seen that movie yet, but it must just be the way he says it because in itself, "anyways" is not funny.

    The difference is that "anyways" is the nonstandard, but acceptible-in-conversation, form of "anyway," as far as I know. Same with "anyhow."


    Brian
     

    kota

    Senior Member
    English, tagalog
    Is it proper to say "anyways" for anyway?

    I look at it as part of evolved Internet language like Aolese.

    It is said the irish say "anyways" - even before Internet came in.
     

    Ed the Editor

    Senior Member
    Hi Kota,

    Almost everywhere in the U.S., "anyways" is considered sub-standard and ungrammatical. You will never see it in writing, unless someone is trying to reproduce ungrammatical language or is trying to be funny. You will hear it in uneducated speech in some areas of the country.

    I hope this is useful.

    Regards,
    Ed
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Careful to distinguish between 'anyways' as a conjunction, which is sub-standard, and 'anyways' as an adverb--- meaning "in any way," "in any respect"--- which is slightly archaic, but is by no means incorrect.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    "Anyways" is dialectic, and common in vast areas of the American Southeast-- which is to say Appalachia. Calling it "sub-standard" is hard to defend as anything but judgmental, and "uneducated" is inexcusable. Believe it or not, speakers of some variants "of no prestige" have excellent educations, even Doctorates-- even advanced degrees in English language and literature.

    Some dialects (languages?) in Europe get the same treatment-- Catalan and Napulitan come to mind.
    .
     

    kota

    Senior Member
    English, tagalog
    You know, this came about when I went to a supposedly writers’ site. Then I read of “anyways” used by a writer and I questioned it. To my consternation, the writers were introduced as Irish. I have nothing against them personally, but I would not like to be recommending writers’ sites to budding writers where the English employed is dialectic.
     

    DavyBCN

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Could a mild-mannered British English speaker (and teacher of English) borrow an American phrase? Chill out guys!

    Two points. "Anyways" is commonly used by Irish speakers of English as a change of subject word - maybe in the same way United States speakers of English use "whatever"? I have no idea what standards either of these words may break.

    On the subject of standards. Whose standards? And the standards of when - now or last year? It really does a huge disservice to learners of English to claim that there is any one standard by which the quality of a person's language is judged. While the majority of grammar structures in English are fixed, their use is not always. As a teacher I explain the differences between British and US English almost every week, and usually try not to say how unnatural some US uses are to me, such as "have gotten". But I would be a very poor teacher if I didn't explain the different usages - or if I complained about usages that I find non-standard. I use non-standard deliberately, because "have gotten" is non-standard to me. Why should I insult people from the USA by saying it is sub-standard?

    If there was one standard of English we would all be speaking and writing like Chaucer or Shakespeare, But I imagine some of their contemporaries complained as well!:)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Anyways is used as a conjunction by a number of well-educated and fastidious people around here. It is the dialect of their part of the country, as they are well aware. They would not write it in a formal coummunication as they consider it to be NON-standard.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    I have read anyways and I have heard anyways and I have not made an assumption of negativity about the speaker or writer because they used a word that I do not.

    The meaning is always contextually clear to me.

    I am quite certain that I use idiomatic words and phrases and I slip into dialect when it pleases me yet I consider myself to be quite educated and cultured.

    The use of anyways will reveal something of the geographical origins of the user and perhaps a penchant to cock a snoot at someone telling them how to talk proper.

    We have a very colourful and varied language and not much of it is sub-standard.

    .,,
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    . said:
    The use of anyways will reveal something of the geographical origins of the user and perhaps a penchant to cock a snoot at someone telling them how to talk proper.

    We have a very colourful and varied language and not much of it is sub-standard.
    Agreed.

    And about "sub-standard"-- to criticize it as judgmental in no way hints at the abandonment of standards. Being judgmental is not the same as exercising judgment-- it means exercising judgment in a narrow-minded or inflexible way, and approaches bigotry in connotation.

    The deleted argument against "non-standard" of course equivocated on the term "judgmental," treating it as a neutral or even positive term.
    .
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    DavyBCN said:
    If there was one standard of English we would all be speaking and writing like Chaucer or Shakespeare, But I imagine some of their contemporaries complained as well!:)
    It seems quite appropriate that you mention the language of Shakespeare as I have read in a number of different publications that The Appalacian Mountains region retains one of the closest living links to the language of The Bard.

    .,,
    I suspect that William Shakespeare would not have criticised the use of anyways in any form.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    . said:
    I suspect that William Shakespeare would not have criticised the use of anyways in any form.
    Neither anyway nor anyways are in his works.

    I hear "anywho" as an American version of the Irish use of anyways.

    Collins English Dictionary says anyways is US and Canadian, the Oxford Concise calls it N Amer, and Chambers refers to it as dialect and especially US.

    I'm quite familiar with it as a topic changing gambit, and with it's twin brother anyways up used as a cut to the chase expression.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    maxiogee said:
    Neither anyway nor anyways are in his works.
    You missed my point.
    Shakespeare was quite adept at inventing new words to fit his requirements and that is why I suspect that he would not have criticised the use of anyways or psychobabble or human resources manager even though he used none of these terms himself.

    .,,
    Shakespeare was interested in function and form.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    . said:
    You missed my point.
    Shakespeare was quite adept at inventing new words to fit his requirements and that is why I suspect that he would not have criticised the use of anyways or psychobabble or human resources manager even though he used none of these terms himself.

    .,,
    Shakespeare was interested in function and form.
    Well said.

    Actually Shakespeare might have used the adverb 'anyways.' There's a play called Edward III, which is often attributed to Shakespeare. (Peter Ackroyd makes a good case for it in his Shakespeare biography.) In it King Edward orders:

    Go to thy daughter; and in my behalf
    Command her, woo her, win her any ways ...


    Note that in Shakespeare (and generally until about 1800) 'any thing,' 'any body' and 'any where' are always written as two words.

    In any event, of course Shakespeare would have embraced anyways (conj), just as Dickens does. Because it's colorful, and because the use of the word tells us something about the user. By being non-standard (YAWN!!) it becomes narratively salient. I have to imagine though that Shakespeare would have made it part of Toby Belch's vocabulary, and not Viola's.

    My only real argument here has always been this: if someone from Japan or Saudi Arabia or Timbuktu who is trying to learn English--- no mean feat--- writes to this forum to ask about a word like 'anyways,' do you really think they're interested in the vagaries of dialectical geography? (And when I say dialectics I mean just that, not broad-strokes BE, AE, IE, OzE usage.)

    I just have to imagine that they're better served being instructed in the standard language--- I know, I'm a snob!--- and then if one day they end up in Appalachia they'll figure out soon enough that the paradigm has shifted.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    mgarizona said:
    I just have to imagine that they're better served being instructed in the standard language--- I know, I'm a snob!--- and then if one day they end up in Appalachia they'll figure out soon enough that the paradigm has shifted.
    There we go again-- "instructed in the standard language," you say. And exactly which variant is that? The largest bloc of English speakers in the world are Asians-- with more speakers of (basically American) English in China than in the U.S., and English growing in influence, not diminishing, ever since the end of the Raj in India. I have cyber relationships with people my age in India who decry the AE their children and grandchildren are speaking-- that variant has supplanted the one they learned, and the global corporate "outsourcing" of telemarketing and other phone-bank work to workers in the Asian Subcontinent is "exacerbating" this tendency.

    If this sounds like AE chauvinism, I only offer it in counterpart to your apparent assumption that BE is the "standard"-- mayhap that paradigm you mentioned has shifted so abruptly it passed your notice.

    Finally, the query that started this thread was about "anyways," and it turns out that's a more complicated subject than you perhaps consider it to be. "It's wrong, don't use it" is not the whole story. In fact, wasn't the original thead-starter here because he "needed an answer to show someone insisting on it (i.e., the valid use of anyways)?

    It turns out the person "insisting on it" had a point-- and it might well have been one of the teachers this learner of English has to satisfy.

    I've found it useful to tell learners that the complexities we sometimes (often) get into here are one area of interest, and the needs of putting a correct answer on an exam, or meeting the limited expectations of a teacher-- are another. Supplying those simple guidelines is one function of this forum, but it is the adjunct to a web-based dictionary, and it delves into nuances of usage not covered in the entries-- some of which are complex indeed, going into detail about idiomatic usage and differences among registers and variants.

    Expanding on all this is part of the raison d'être of these forums-- your objections notwithstanding.
    .
     

    kota

    Senior Member
    English, tagalog
    panjandrum said:
    As a conjunction, Dickens used it - as direct speech:
    Our Mutual Friend

    'Anyways,' said the damsel, 'I am glad punishment followed, and I say so.


    That's the earliest reference given by the OED.
    Meaning, "anyways" was only being used to characterize the damsel - to show her level of education.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As I said earlier, there are places where anyways is a natural part of everyday vocabulary. Its use says nothing about the level of education of the speaker.
     

    kota

    Senior Member
    English, tagalog
    “Anyways,” therefore, is dialectic as somebody already said.

    As dialectic, my friend said, as others had said, it is –

    …something many writers use in order to establish period or to authenticate a character's background. For instance, a writer trying to depict the 1950s south would use words and phrases that were common in the 50s as well as in the south. That's often called dialect. It creates the 'atmosphere' of the piece.

    Thank you all for the discussions.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    mgarizona said:
    Well said.

    Actually Shakespeare might have used the adverb 'anyways.' There's a play called Edward III, which is often attributed to Shakespeare. (Peter Ackroyd makes a good case for it in his Shakespeare biography.) In it King Edward orders:

    Go to thy daughter; and in my behalf
    Command her, woo her, win her any ways ...
    The rest of the quote shows though that he meant "win her by any means" and not the conversation ending "anyways"

    Command her, woo her, win her any ways,
    To be my mistress and my secret love.
    I will not stand to hear thee make reply:
    Thy oath break hers, or let thy sovereign die.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    maxiogee said:
    The rest of the quote shows though that he meant "win her by any means" and not the conversation ending "anyways"
    Yes, that's what the adverb 'anyways' always means, which is not dialectical or other-than-standard but a perfectly ordinary English-language word.

    (No offense intended to words which are out-of-the-ordinary or any user thereof!)

    It's the use of 'anyways' as a conjunction (an adverbial conjunction to be precise) that's the question here.

    Actually, let me ask you a this since the prevalence of this usage in IE has been mentioned many times:

    If to end a conversation--- conjunction as segue--- someone said simply Anyway ... in lieu of Anyways ..., what would that invoke? Would it be considered wrong? Does it peg someone as an outsider?

    Just wondering.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    mgarizona said:
    Actually, let me ask you a this since the prevalence of this usage in IE has been mentioned many times:

    If to end a conversation--- conjunction as segue--- someone said simply Anyway ... in lieu of Anyways ..., what would that invoke? Would it be considered wrong? Does it peg someone as an outsider?

    Just wondering.
    Good question. Both are used here, and those who favour "anyway" would probably insist that the others are ignorant! :)
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    maxiogee said:
    Good question. Both are used here, and those who favour "anyway" would probably insist that the others are ignorant! :)
    Et voilà! Same difference in the States, outside the occasional holler at least. Thanks!
     

    kota

    Senior Member
    English, tagalog
    maxiogee said:
    .... those who favour "anyway" would probably insist that the others are ignorant! :)
    They may not insist but they would think so. I had been educated under Americans and so to me, it is not proper.

    Some Irish writers I know admit of using the word in making comments - but not in their writing. The exception is when they have to characterize a persona in their story.
     

    Armani

    Member
    English and Ireland
    I'm Irish and anyways is certainly used sometimes. I have a very high standard of English and I am not aware that the word anyways as an adverb is in any way incorrect.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Armani said:
    I'm Irish and anyways is certainly used sometimes. I have a very high standard of English and I am not aware that the word anyways as an adverb is in any way incorrect.
    Welcome Armani (nice suit!) :)
    No-one has called it "incorrect" or "wrong".
    It has been stated that it is dialect, or regional.
     

    kiza

    New Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Does anybody with (or without) an etymological dictionary know if 'anyway' originally comes from 'anyways'?

    I know 'anyways' is non-standard nowadays, but non-standard forms are sometimes older. Anyway:) , I was wondering about this one, as there are some other adverbs ending in -ways (all+ways, side+ways...).

    I know it's a difficult question, but I had to try!
     

    MissFit

    Senior Member
    Well, my ordinary dictionary says that they both originated in the 13th century (more or less simultaneously, I suppose) as variants of anywise, meaning "in any case." It also labels anyways as archaic (rather than non-standard.)

    I was surprised; I always thought that anyways was a semi-literate corruption of anyway--or just sloppy speech. How ignorant of me to assume that those who used it were ignorant!
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The OED also notes that anyway and anyways share etymology.

    It draws a distinction between the archaic adverbial use of anyways, meaning "in any way", and the dialectical or illiterate (quoting the OED) use of anyways in place of anyway.
     

    skyblue96

    Member
    English United States
    "Anyways" is not a proper word in English. Sometimes we use it when we are talking online or on myspace or something, but "anyway" is technically correct.

    The sentence that you are writing doesn't really make sense though. Are you trying to say that "tomorrow is Monday so I am going to school"?
     
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