Q: Sometimes I see “everyday” as one word and sometimes I see it as two (“every day”). Are both correct? Is there a difference? —Karen S.
The English language is tricky sometimes, and this instance is a perfect example—yes both “everyday” and “every day” are correct, but they can’t be used interchangeably. While they ultimately mean the same thing, they have different functions.
“Everyday” is an adjective that describes an object. My work clothes are separate from my everyday clothes. Around our office, fax-machine meltdowns are an everyday event.
“Every day” is an adverbial phrase (where “every” is actually acting as an adjective describing “day”). I start every day by giving my wife a kiss. Also, don’t tell anyone but I watch “The View” every day.
If you’re still in doubt, use this little trick to keep it straight: Try to substitute “each and every day” in the place of the “everyday/every day” in question. If it works, go with two words. If not, it’s one word.
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Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.