Everyday Versus Every Day

everyday-vs-every-dayQ: 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.

Want other Grammar Rules? Check out:
Sneaked vs. Snuck
Who vs. Whom
Lay vs. Lie vs. Laid 
Which vs. That
Since vs. Because
Ensure vs. Insure
Home in vs. Hone in
Leaped vs. Leapt

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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.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
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13 thoughts on “Everyday Versus Every Day

  1. JohnA

    But they don’t mean the same thing, do they? One refers to the ordinariness of a thing or event, the other to the regularity with which an event occurs.

  2. Mike Conley

    Brian, I’m new here, but if I may be so bold: Seeing as how this is a comment section on a blog about writing, it’d be kinda sweet to have an edit function. My first post contained some boo-boos, and now it’s carved in electronic stone… 🙁

  3. Mike Conley

    This grammatical error was used on Toyota billboards just last year, all around Los Angeles – advertising their “Everyday Black Friday” event. Yeesh! I emailed Saatchi and Saatchi, their ad agency, to give them a heads up, they were too snooty to reply.

    Hmmm, maybe if I emailed them everyotherday, I’d get a response. Y’think?

  4. Kaylynn

    I have an excellent story idea and I’m more than 35,000 words in. I know where I want to be and how to end my story but, it’s getting there that has been extremely frustrating. I seem to have hit a wall and don’t know where to go from here. My mind is swirling with new ideas but I know if I abandon the story I’m currently working on, the new idea will end up a quarter finished, too. What should I do?

  5. susannaheanes

    here’s another use of this word: as a noun, albeit perhaps a colloquialism, meaning common or informal. i heard it constantly when i was i alabama. as in, "bring out the everyday," for "we’re going to use the informal plates & silverware to set the table." in other words, as opposed to special, or formal.

    "everyday" in this case usually means tableware, but i also heard it used to mean clothing (presumably casual).

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