Everyday vs. Every day

One of the most baffling features of the English language is the existence of compound words. Compound words are, as the name suggests, combinations of two or more words that together, form another word. For instance, “snowball,” “mailbox,” and “grandmother” are all compound words. But some compound terms are confusing. Certain compound words can be used both in their compound and individual forms: i.e. everyday is a word, but every day is also used often. So what are the rules here? When should you use everyday vs. every day?

Every day Meaning and Usage

Every day means each day. It is two words, with the main word being a noun, so you can consider this a noun phrase. You might use every day in a sentence that describes a repeated behavior, i.e. “She went to the park every day,” or “Every day that she didn’t see him, she missed him a little more.”

Everyday Meaning and Usage

On the other hand, everyday is a single word, and is an adjective. Everyday means “daily” or “commonplace”. Someone might use the word everyday in a similar context to every day, i.e. to describe common behaviors or habits. However, everyday belongs in a different part of the sentence. For instance, someone might write, “She wasn’t sure what the dress code was, so she wore her everyday blue jeans to the party,” or “A Long Island Iced Tea should not be an everyday drink if you care about your liver.”

Tips for Remembering the Difference between Everyday vs. Every day

How should you make sure you remember the difference when you’re trying to use these words in your day-to-day life? When you’re trying to figure out when to use each word, try substituting the word average or commonplace for the phrase. If you should be using everyday, then an adjective substitution will make sense, i.e. “She got used to the commonplace crime in her neighborhood.” On the other hand, if you should be using every day then putting in an adjective wouldn’t make sense, like “She went to the park average.”

Test Your Knowledge on Everyday vs. Every day

Think you’ve got the difference down? Test your knowledge using this mini-quiz. Answers below!

  1. She wasn’t a fan of strong fragrances, so she didn’t buy candles ____.
  2. Her ___ jacket wasn’t warm enough for Iceland.
  3. It’s not just your ____ shirt.
  4. It’s not ______ that the President of the United States comes to visit your high school.
  5. _____ she went for a run down by the water so she could swim afterward.
  6. She said, “____ I go to work and try not to hate my job.”
  7. They marketed the wallet as a good ____ men’s wallet.
  8. She knew she shouldn’t, but she couldn’t quite resist buying a donut ____ for breakfast.
  9. On top of her _____ runs, she did hot yoga sessions every other night.
  10. Surf and turf is not an _____ kind of dinner for someone on a teaching salary.

Quiz Answers:

  1. Every day 2. Everyday 3. Everyday 4. Every day 5. Every day 6. Every day 7. Everyday. 8. Every day 9. Everyday 10. Everyday

Was this useful to you? Be sure to check out some of our other grammar blogs, like our blog on when to use Accept vs. Except and our post about the differences between There, Their, and They’re!