The members in my writer’s critique group catch my mistakes with the accuracy of word accountants. It’s not that I don’t know the difference between everyday and every day, but I’m more focused on writing and meeting my daily self-inflicted word count. So for my benefit, and perhaps yours, I’ll discuss briefly the words I most often misuse.
Every day vs. Everyday
Every day means each day. Every is an adjective that describes the noun day, and everyday is an adjective that describes something that is commonplace.
“Every day I wear my everyday tennis shoes when I hose the bird droppings off my patio.”
Every one vs. Everyone
Every one means each individual person in the group, whereas everyone is a collective pronoun referring to a collective group of people.
“Every one caught in the speed trap on Tricky Road will be issued a ticket.”
“Everyone will benefit from knowing about the speed trap on Tricky Road.”
Any way vs. Anyway
Any way is an adjective modifying a noun, meaning any matter, reason, or method. “Violence against another person is wrong, any way you look at it.”
Anyway is an adverb meaning in spite of, despite, or regardless.
“Martha had one too many at the church bizarre, and knew she’d regret spiking Father Michael’s punch, but she did it anyway.”
All Ready vs Already
All ready means completely prepared.
“I’m all ready to take the test.” But perhaps in this case “all” is a needless word and that can be omitted [see writing tip # 19]—you’re either ready or you’re not.
Already is an adverb meaning something that has happened before, or happened sooner than expected.
“The giant pizza was delivered fifteen minutes ago and it’s already gone!”
Finally, Any More or Anymore?
“I don’t drink triple-latte mocha-frappuccinos any more because the sugar and caffeine keep me awake at night.” In this case any more means no longer. If you substituted anymore for any more, your meaning would be the same, but many grammarians feel anymore should not be used in formal writing. Personally, I disagree.
The next time I meet with my writers’ critique group, I’ll be handing them a newly completed manuscript. Of course I’ll read it one more time and do my best to catch errors the spell-check missed. Just in case, I’m giving each one a brand-new red pin.
Our event at Village Books on Saturday, July 16 was a resounding success. Rebecca Pratt spoke on her father Frank Pratt's behalf about his book The Cigarette Diaries. Get your copy to read this intriguing book and to order.