The words everyday vs every day can get confusing in the English language because they sound identical in spoken language.
When two words or phrases sound the same in spoken English, choosing the right word is challenging for writers. This is the case with the word “everyday” and “every day.” This guide will break down everyday vs. every day so you can make the right choice over which one to use in your writing.
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Everyday vs Every Day – What Are the Differences?
“Every day” and “everyday” are not just alternative spellings for the same word, but they are different parts of speech with different meanings. “Everyday” as a single word is an adjective to describe nouns and pronouns. “Every day” is an adverbial phrase that starts a phrase that describes verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.
Using “Everyday” Correctly
“Everyday” as a single word is an adjective. It means:
- Suitable to use daily or for ordinary days
Use this word in a sentence when modifying a noun. It often appears before the noun or near it in some way. Here are some examples:
- Everyday clothes
- Everyday activity
- Everyday conversation
- Everyday dishes
- Everyday shoes
Example Sentences Using the Word Everyday
In the English language, seeing different parts of speech used properly can help solidify the concept for writers and readers. These sentences use “everyday” as an adjective every time:
- When I do my everyday chores, my house looks much tidier.
The everyday dishes would be fine for this party instead of the holiday dishes.
- He slipped the fact that he was published in The Washington Post into everyday conversation on a regular basis.
In each of these sentences, the adjective “everyday” describes the word coming right after. Because it is an adjective, the one-word form is the correct form of the word.
Using Every Day Correctly
The two-word phrase “every day” is an adverb. This means the phrase is a modifier for verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
“Every day” can also show up as a noun and adjective, such as if the writer is referring literally to every day of the week. In this case, the phrase actually uses two different words in two different parts of speech. The first word, “every,” is an adjective to describe the noun “day.”
Example Sentences of the Adverbial Phrase Every Day
Seeing this phrase used correctly helps solidify the idea. Most often, “every day” describes verbs. Though technically adverbial phrases can modify adjectives and adverbs, this rarely happens because “every day” refers to timing, and timing is typically connected to verbs.
These examples use the adverbial phrase “every day” correctly to describe a verb:
- I take a walk every day to help me stay fit. (Describes when you walk.)
- The birds visit my bird feeder every day first thing in the morning. (Describes when they visit.)
- Every day, the young man looked forward to returning home to his wife and baby. (Describes when the young man looked forward.)
Example Sentences of Every Day Used as an Adjective and Noun
In these sentences, “every day” is not modifying a noun, adjective or adverb, and thus it is not an adverbial phrase. Instead, it is the adjective “every” describing the word “day” used as a noun. These are also correct uses of “every day:”
- After nearly dying in a car crash, the young woman vowed to make every day count.
- Every day is a chance to wake up and enjoy life.
These sentences technically do not use “every day” as an adverbial phrase, but they are still correct according to grammar rules.
Use Each to Determine Correct Usage
If you find the everyday vs. every day question confusing still, one simple way to check your usage is to substitute “each” for “every.” If the sentence makes sense with the word “each,” then you need the two-word phrase. If it does not, then you need the single-word.
Here is an example:
- Each day I come home at 5:00 in the evening.
This would mean the same thing if you said:
- Each day I come home at 5:00 in the evening.
Thus, the two-word phrase is correct. Similarly:
- Johnathan wanted a pair of shoes for everyday use.
In this case, it would not make sense to use each, so “everyday” is correct. For example:
- Johnathan wanted a pair of shoes for each day use.
Try the Single Test
Another way to test the correct use of these words is with the word “single.” If you can add “single” in-between “every” and “day” then you need to use the two-word version. For example:
- You need to eat healthy every day to make a difference in your diet.
Can also read,
- You need to eat healthy every single day to make a difference in your diet.
- You need to add more veggies to your everyday diet.
- You need to add more veggies to your every single day diet.
Does not work.
The Final Word on Everyday vs Every Day
“Everyday” is an adjective and almost always comes right next to a noun. “Every day” is an adverbial phrase or an adjective and a noun. Most of the time ti describes when the action of the verb takes place. The easiest way to distinguish between these two commonly misused words is with the word “each.” if you can substitute “each” for “every,” then you need to two-word option. If not, then you need the single-word option.
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