A Fun Lesson to Learn the Difference!
In the 17 years I’ve been teaching English (or “ELA” as we cool kids call it), I’ve found that one of the most confusing concepts for students to learn while editing writing is whether to use “everyday” (one word) or “every day” (two words). Which is correct?
“Everyday” vs. “Every Day” Depends on Context
The answer to the “everyday vs. every day” battle depends on what you’re trying to say, and where the word (or words) will be placed in the sentence. Yes, those two phrases have distinct definitions and parts of speech, meaning they are used in different ways. If the words are plopped in the wrong place, the writing won’t work… so let’s figure out how to use them correctly.
“Everyday” Definition and Correct Use
The word “everyday” (written as one word with no space in the middle) is an adjective: a describing word that goes before a noun. What’s the definition of “everyday?” It means: ordinary, commonplace, normal, basic, or typical — used or seen on a daily basis. Something that is described as “everyday” is not fancy or special, because it’s frequently in use in one’s ongoing routine.
Examples of “Everyday” in Sentences:
His everyday routine involves exercise, meditation, and eating lots of fruits and veggies. He knows that taking care of his physical self on a daily basis makes a huge positive difference in happiness and productivity.
“Honey, you can’t wear your everyday shoes to our wedding! They’re disgusting and scuffed up, and everyone will think you’re a slob who doesn’t care about our marriage!”
She decided not to take her everyday route home on Thursday, because she heard there was a purple whale spotted near the beach, and she hoped to catch a glimpse by driving near the shore.
“Every Day” Meaning and Correct Use
When written as two words, “every day” is an adverbial phrase made of an adjective (“every”) and noun (“day”) which is used to describe how often something is done. It is the answer to questions about frequency. The definition of “every day” is: daily, each day, or every single day.
“Every Day” Examples in Sentences:
I eat four pumpkins every day because I am actually Pumpkin Monster.
“I did my homework on time every day this week! I feel so proud of myself, and my school grades are going up and up.”
Every day that I’m far away from my dragon, my heart aches with longing…
Everyday vs. Every Day VIDEO:
Tricks to Know Whether to Use One Word or Two
What are techniques to remember the difference between these commonly confused phrases? If you’re looking to place the word(s) before a noun to mean “normal” or “typical,” use “everyday.” If you’re writing something to answer the question “how often?” use “every day.”
Another trick to double check if “every day” is correct in the sentence is to replace it with “each day” or to put “single” in the space so it becomes “every single day.” If the sentence still makes sense with that replacement, “every day” is correct.
Sentences with Everyday AND Every Day
“You tell me every day that you love me exactly as I am, so why CAN’T I wear my everyday shoes to our wedding? Scruffy is just who I am! I’ve got to be true to myself, and I refuse to apologize for my fashion choices.”
After a while, the grumpy octopus realized that his everyday hat was too tight. Every day in October, he went to different stores, looking for a new outfit that would feel more comfortable. Finally in November, he found one!
I got so used to drinking coffee every day that it became an everyday need — one I couldn’t function without. As a result, I decided I needed to quit coffee so as not to be so dependent.
Every Day, Learn More Everyday English
I hope this lesson on “everyday” vs. “every day” was useful! Want more grammar, spelling, usage, vocabulary, and ELA lessons? Check out these other educational cartoon articles and videos, and feel free to request others!
- “Aww” vs. “Awe”
- Homophones List
- Commonly Confused Words
- Whose or Who’s
- Onomatopoeia Examples
- Passed vs. Past
- Flare vs. Flair
- Metacognition Definition and Strategies
- What is Context?
- Tone vs. Mood
- Juxtaposition Examples
- Apart vs. A Part
- Liminal Space
- Foreshadowing Definition and Examples
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!