The four words “anyway,” “any way,” “everyday” and “every day” illustrate for me just how precise and seemingly random the English language can be. It’s not always easy to tell which usage is correct. Specifically, getting “everyday” and “every day” mixed up is so common, I bet many people don’t even realize they mean two entirely different things.
So, how can you tell which one to use?
When to use anyway and when to use any way
The word “anyway” has a few meanings. They are: to redirect a conversation, to show that something is bound to happen, or to confirm something that’s previously been said. Here are examples of each.
- “So, anyway, what do you want for lunch?”
- “If I make a turkey sandwich, you’re just going to ask for ham anyway.”
- “Lunch will be turkey anyway; I don’t know why you’re asking.”
By contrast, “any way” has one very specific meaning: one or many methods of reaching a certain goal.
“Is there any way we could have lunch earlier?”
When to use everyday and when to use every day
As I mentioned earlier, mixing up these two is very common; probably more common than the anyway/any way mixup. But fear not – it’s easy to remember the difference between “everyday” and “every day.”
The adjective “everyday” refers to things that are routine, that are faced daily. For example, if you take the same bus to work daily, that’s your everyday route. It can also refer to things that are commonplace – “This isn’t my everyday pair of shoes.”
The adverb “every day” means, specifically, each day.
So, to say, “I eat cereal every day” is correct, because you’re explaining that you eat cereal each day – whereas “I eat cereal everyday” is incorrect. However, saying, “This is my everyday cereal” is the correct usage of “everyday.”