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I think this is a common problem I have. I always find myself debating whether I should write a sentence as "no longer knowing" or "without knowing...anymore."

For example:

I looked at Faye's cat smile, and for a fleeting instant, I forgot about everything. I forgot about buses, waiting lines, ticket counters, miniature toilets, sleepless nights on a seat. The feeling of exhaustion that never left my body. The feeling of anxiety upon arriving to a city that wasn't my own. And the even stronger feeling of detachment upon reaching mine without knowing who I was anymore. I finally understood it at that moment. All this traveling had really alienated me from myself. To the point I no longer recognized my own skin, my own feelings, or my own thoughts. But thanks to Faye I could finally find myself again—that part of me that almost got lost forever on the highway.

I could have written it like this:

The feeling of anxiety upon arriving to a city that wasn't my own. And the even stronger feeling of detachment upon reaching mine, no longer knowing who I was.

Which one should I choose in cases like this? The shorter one? The one that sounds "better"? I think I've read the sentence so many times I no longer/don't know which one is the best choice (anymore).

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The difference in emphasis:

no longer knowing is more about passage of time - you forgot, or the facts changed and your former knowledge is now obsolete, or there were some events in the past that took that knowledge away from you. The moment when you stopped knowing could be quite distant.

not knowing anymore is about loss - confusion, changes, learning new (contradictory) facts. It's usually about losing that knowledge quite recently, and not through natural process of forgetting, but by it being invalidated by developments.

A person who just forgot is no longer knowing. A person who got very confused, doesn't know anymore.

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I've never looked at it like that. Thanks. –  Alexandro Chen Nov 28 '13 at 13:47

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