Everyday Confusion . . . Every Day

Let’s take a look at some words that can either be one word or broken in two. Since the meanings are usually quite different, it’s important to take a closer look at these everyday words. Like everyday.

This word, for example, is an adjective. If you noticed, I used it in an earlier sentence, and you may recall learning in school (way back when) that adjectives “describe a noun.” So you would use everyday when describing everyday things. It’s an everyday occurrence. These are everyday habits. Now, the word every is also an adjective, so how do you know when you need to break that word apart and use two words: every day?

The key is the word day. Day is a noun, so when you are talking about days and describing them (unless you are calling one “an everyday day”), you want to use two words. For example:

  • Every day I walk the same street to work.
  • I’m going every day to the market to get fresh fruit.
  • I am counting every day until you arrive.

So now, think about the words anyone and any one. The same basic principle applies. Use anyone (pronoun) when you mean any person. Any is an adjective (unless you are using it as an adverb, as in “this doesn’t help any”). So you would write:

  • I could eat any one of those cookies.
  • Any one of my friends might show up first.
  • I think any one of those ten ideas would work.

But you would write:

  • Is anyone home?
  • Can anyone tell me where to go?
  • I don’t think anyone cares.

I don’t know if anyone cares about any one of my examples, but I’m going to keep coming up with everyday examples every day!

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