If you want to tell someone how you get to work each day, you might write something like this:
- “I walk to work everyday.”
What if we told you, though, that “everyday” (one word) isn’t the right word to use here and that instead, you need to use “every day” (two words). You may be left feeling a bit confused. After all, aren’t “everyday” and “every day” just different ways of writing the same word? Actually, they aren’t.
“Every day” is an adverb that means “each day.” Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. We use “every day” in a sentence like this: “Jill calls her sister every day.”
In comparison, “everyday” is an adjective that means “common.” Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. We use “everyday” in a sentence like this: “Jill set aside her everyday dishes for the kids to use and saved her good china for the adult guests.”
So how do we figure out which word is the correct one for the “I walk to work” sentence? There are two things we can do.
First, we can think about which word fits better in the sentence in terms of meaning. Take a look below:
- “I walk to work everyday.” = “I walk to work common.”
- “I walk to work every day.” = “I walk to work each day.”
As you can see, the first version of the sentence (i.e., the one with “everyday”) doesn’t make sense, but the second version of the sentence (i.e., the one with “every day”) does.
Second, we can think about which type of word (i.e., adjective vs. adverb) fits in the sentence. When we write “I walk to work every day,” we’re saying that there’s an action we perform (i.e., walking to work), and we’re describing something about the action (i.e., how frequently we perform it). As we mentioned above, we use adverbs to describe actions (verbs). So if we’re describing how we walk (an action), we need to use an adverb (like “every day”), not an adjective (like “everyday”).
Adjectives like “everyday” describe nouns and pronouns, but the only nouns and pronouns in our example sentence are “I” and “work.” What we mean by “every day” in the sentence doesn’t describe something about “I” or “work,” so we know that an adjective isn’t the right type of word to use here.
In sum, when you’re trying to figure out whether you need to use “everyday” versus “every day” in a sentence, think about what the word describes. If it describes a noun or pronoun, use “everyday.” If it describes a verb, adjective, or adverb, use “every day.”
Have any lingering questions about the difference between “everyday” and “every day”? Leave us a note in our comments section below and we’ll do our best to incorporate it into one of our upcoming posts.
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