Sunday, November 20, 2011

Everyday vs Every Day

I've got good news, these are both correct, English words. However, they are not synonyms or interchangeable with each other.

As one word, "everyday" is a adjective. It describes something you see often or commonplace. Since adjectives modify nouns, you'll usually see it in front of the noun it is describing.

I avoided my everyday route to school.
I got another everyday tie for Father's Day.
I enjoy hearing the British accent over the everyday, American accent I grew up with.

 Notice in that last example that I threw in two adjectives. I'll save this for another lesson, but two or more adjectives modifying a noun have commas between them.

 "Every day" on the other hand is a phrase which means "each day." "Every" is an adjective, and it modifies the word "day."

I want to hug my kids every day.
I try to whistle every day as I work to help the time go by faster.
I see that broken down car every day I drive in this neighborhood.

Jordan McCollum offered this extra bit of information from Annette Lyon:

Annette Lyon gave a great guideline for figuring out if you need "everyday" or "every day": if you can put "single" between "every" and "day," they're separate words. "It was an everyday thing." vs. "It happened every [single] day."

So to test my examples:


I want to hug my kids every single day.
I try to whistle every single day as I work to help the time go by faster.
I see that broken down car every single day I drive in this neighborhood.

Hey, it worked! I passed! *Whew*