Everything Language and Grammar

Does This Happen Everyday or Every Day?

Posted by languageandgrammar on October 10, 2008

Everyday is an adjective; it describes a noun and answers the question what kind of, as in the old song I Am Everyday People (what kind of people are you?), so it normally comes right before the noun. Temper tantrums are everyday occurrences (occurrence is a noun) with toddlers. Worship is an everyday event (event is a noun) at our home. (For some people, what they’re praying about is for their kids to give it a rest on the temper tantrums.) These are my everyday shoes means these are the shoes that I wear for no special occasions; they’re my general footwear. Everyday can mean commonplace, but it can also mean daily, but it when it means daily, it is in the adjectival sense.

Every day is an adverb, answering the question when, as in the other (relatively) old song Every Day I Write the Book. It means every single day, so if you can insert single between every and day, then you should use them as two separate words. My toddler has a temper tantrum every day (when?). We worship at our home every day (when?). I wear these shoes every day except for special occasions. Every day means daily in the adverbial sense.

What’s important to remember is that whether you use it as one word or two depends on its position in the sentence. Are you asking what kind of (a daily occurrence) or are you asking when (it occurs daily)?

Sherry

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