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The novelist devotes so much time to avid descriptions of his characters’ clothes that the reader soon feels that such sartorial concerns, although worthy of attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims.

Q: I looked up about the meaning of "any more", but I've noticed that it's usually like this "not...any more". So I don't really know how to interpret this sentence when it doesn't put "not" with "any more". Why is that? Does "any more" in this sentence still mean "still, from now on"?

Thanks!!

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  • You're grouping the words wrong. Break it down as: "It has superseded any ______." The blank could have been "expectations," "previous value," or any number of other phrases. In this case, it's "more directly literary aims."
    – T.J.L.
    Mar 18 '16 at 13:51
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Does "any more" in this sentence still mean "still, from now on"?

No, it does not.

In your example sentence,

[...] the reader soon feels that such sartorial concerns, although worthy of attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims.

"More" modifies "directly", which modifies "literary", which modifies "aims".

The sentence could be re-written:

[...] the reader soon feels that such sartorial concerns, although worthy of attention, have superseded any aims that are more directly literary.

In your example, the juxtaposition of "any" and "more" is entirely incidental, and does not indicate the idiomatic expression "any more".

The author of the sentence is saying that the novelist has lavished such attention on describing clothing (the "sartorial concerns"), that the reader will come to feel it a fault in the novel, and that the reader might surmise that the novelist was more concerned with describing clothing than with whether doing so enhanced the literary quality of the novel (the "more directly literary aims", "any" of which the reader "feels" were "superseded" by the clothing descriptions.)

All of which is is a rather elaborate and diplomatic way of saying, "Ugh, too many descriptions of clothing!"

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  • Good to see you back! :)
    – Kinzle B
    Apr 17 '16 at 4:43
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"anymore" vs. "any more"

According to Bob Cunningham,

not ___ anymore

is used similarly to "no longer", seen in the example:

He is not dancing anymore.

He is no longer dancing.

However, using "any more" has a different meaning. "any more" is used to denote actions referring to a number of objects:

He does not need any more books.

To clarify the difference, here's a sentence with both uses:

I don't buy books anymore because I don't need any more books.

"any more" without "not"

Typically, "any more" is more commonly used without "not" because it refers to objects. "any more" by itself is used as a condition for another clause:

If I have any more food, I will be sick!

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  • Thanks for the reply! I'm still not sure how to translate the sentence I put above. Does "any more" show a sense of attitude in it? Thanks! Mar 18 '16 at 2:16
  • @LuluCailoo if you mean attitude as in tone, it depends on how the sentence is said and/or written. They can both have specific tones. Here are some examples: If I have any more food, I am gonna be sick... VERSUS I cannot take this anymore! It all depends on how it is said and the punctuation when it is written
    – Arastais
    Mar 18 '16 at 2:20
  • Thanks. "The novelist devotes so much time to avid descriptions of his characters’ clothes that the reader soon feels that such sartorial concerns, although worthy of attention, have superseded any more directly literary aims." What does this sentence mean? Does "any more" reinforce the attitude that "the descriptions of clothes have superseded literary aims"? Mar 18 '16 at 2:47
  • Well, it seems like the sentence is saying that any further attempts of satire or literary devices don't matter to the reader because of how much detail the novelist puts in the character's clothes. Based on punctuation, it's a bit hard to tell the tone, but it seems like the narrator is reinforcing the exaggerative tone, based on the use of so much...that with "any more".
    – Arastais
    Mar 18 '16 at 3:04
  • @LuluCailoo - We could rephrase the sentence as "...have superseded any aims that are more directly literary." Does that make it easier to understand?
    – stangdon
    Mar 18 '16 at 3:28

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