Professional Style

Every Day vs. Everyday

December 2009
Spot the Error

Accustomed to getting a mocha latte on her way to work everyday, Sue was nearly beside herself when the town’s only coffeehouse closed, forcing her to settle for the “mocha latte” from the self-serve dispenser at the local gas station’s convenience store.

When written as a single word, everyday serves as an adjective and means ordinary or common: everyday clothes, everyday dishes, everyday tasks.

When written as two words, every day serves as an adverbial phrase and means each day.

Adverbs and adverbial phrases frequently describe how, how often, and when. So, in the “mocha latte” sentence above, the two-word spelling is required. How often did Sue go to the coffeehouse? Every day.

Mnemonic tip – If your sentence allows you to insert the word single between the words every and day without changing the meaning, then the two-word spelling is correct. Example:

Cory runs six miles every [single] day, rain or shine.

Two words.

~ Thank you, Susan P., for the topic suggestion.

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