1

I didn't know they did that anymore.

Which verb is the adverb that "anymore" describing, the first "did" or "know" or the last one "did"?

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3

The second "did."

The first "did" is just an auxiliary for "know."

It's not that you don't know anymore. It's that you didn't know that it is still done.

A rule of thumb that is often broken in English is that an adverb usually modifies the verb that it is closest to in the sentence. This sentence happens to conform to that rule both grammatically and logically.

However, if the "closest to" rule creates nonsense, then go with whatever logic tells you. I suspect that English may not be the only language where the overriding skill humans use for understanding is logic rather than grammar.

  • Aren't all dids auxiliary here? And how do you know the second from grammar alone? – Kris Dec 22 '17 at 8:54
  • What do you suspect the second did is an auxiliary to? And frankly, there are many instances in language where grammar isn't sufficient without logic. If you want a "grammatical" explanation, then doesn't the adverb typically modify the verb it's closest to? – joiedevivre Dec 22 '17 at 8:59
  • How about including as much in the answer to make it more comprehensive? – Kris Dec 22 '17 at 9:01
  • What, specifically, would you like to see included? The thing about how humans use their brains to suss out meaning or the often-broken "closest to" rule? – joiedevivre Dec 22 '17 at 9:14
  • @Kris Okay, I tried to add something about both. Thanks for the critique. – joiedevivre Dec 22 '17 at 10:21

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