Troublesome words

May 1, 2014

Based on a Writing Tip I wrote recently for my team.


I cover two word variations in this week’s Writing Tip:

  • Should you use ‘oriented’ or ‘orientated’ when referring to a (geographic/compass) position?
  • When should you use ‘any more’ or ‘anymore’?


The Macquarie Dictionary is clear on the use of these two words in Australian English—in the context of a geographic/compass position, you use ‘orientate’ or its variations:

oriented (adjective)

  1. inclined (in a specified way): politically oriented.
  2. directed (in a specified way): customer oriented; oriented towards the common reader.

orientate (verb) (orientated, orientating)

  1. –verb (t) to place so as to face the east, especially to build (a church) with the chief altar to the east and the chief entrance to the west.
  2. to place in any definite position with reference to the points of the compass or other points: Get out your map, orientate it and examine it carefully for clues as to where you are –Paddy Pallin, 1959.
  3. to adjust with relation to, or bring into due relation to, surroundings, circumstances, facts, etc.: This would have been the first weekend of the school holidays and would have given people a good opportunity to orientate themselves with the new rail network –AAP News, 2000.
  4. Surveying to turn a map or plane table sheet so that the north direction on the map is parallel to the north direction on the ground.
  5. –verb (i) to turn towards the east or in specified direction.

[backformation from orientation]

Anymore/any more

Jeanne Purdue discusses when to use ‘any more’ versus ‘anymore’ in her recent blog post: http://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/any-more-vs-anymore/

In essence: Anymore and any more have distinct differences in meaning and should be used accordingly:

  • Anymore means any longer or nowadays. In this usage, ‘anymore’ relates to time. Example: ‘Let’s not do this anymore.’; ‘We’re not doing this anymore.’
  • Any more means something additional or further. In this usage, ‘any’ qualifies the word ‘more’. Example: ‘I don’t want any more wine or cheese.’

[Links last checked April 2014]

One comment

  1. You might also offer examples for similar combinations such as ‘every one’ (all in a set of discrete items)/’everyone’ (people only).
    “I had to check every one of the files for consistency…”
    “…so I asked everyone to help.”

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