Everyday vs. every day

Did you know that "everyday" and "every day" have different meanings? Well, they do! And I'm here to teach you when to use each one. 

"Everyday," written as one word, is an adjective that means "ordinary" or "used routinely or typically." (Thanks, Merriam-Webster!)

 

This meaning is the only circumstance in which "everyday" should be written as one word. 

Here are some examples:

  • I'll wear my everyday clothes to the luncheon. It's at a casual restaurant.

  • I have five kids, so my everyday life is quite hectic.

  • Your everyday responsibilities will include answering the phone and greeting clients.

In all these examples, "everyday" is used as an adjective meaning "ordinary," "routine," or "typical." In all other situations, "every day" should be written as two words.

If you want to express that something happens on a daily basis, you mean "every day," written as two words.

Here are some sentences that use "every day" as an adverbial phrase (modifying a verb) to express frequency:

  • I think about you every day.

  • We exercise every day to stay in shape.

  • She checks her voicemail messages every day, even when she's on vacation.

Here's a little trick: If you can substitute "on a daily basis" for "every day," make sure you write it as two separate words.

Another circumstance in which "every day" should be two words is when it serves as the subject of a sentence or an object of a preposition.

 

For example: 

  • Every day is a gift that should be treasured. 

  • We relax by meditating at the end of every day.

To sum up, only write "everyday" as one word if you are using it as an adjective meaning "ordinary" or "used routinely." (Remember the example of "my everyday clothes.") In all other cases, "every day" should be two separate words.

© 2016–2020 Emily S. Smith

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