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Saturday, April 18, 2009

"Everyday" Editing Problem Featured Here "Every Day": Well, OK. Frequently

So many words spelled differently depending on how you use them. Don't be mislead by dictionaries!

Everyday, as an example, is listed in most dictionaries as one word. But that's only true sometimes.

"May Co. offers everyday values." One word! When it's used as an adjective.

But "May Co. offers new values every day." Two words. Don't ask. Just get a sense of it. Sometimes that's the best way.

There are others like this. "A way" and "away" discussed elsewhere on my blog comes to mind.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog.

1 comment:

bdsdude said...

I enjoyed the every day vs. everyday and a way vs. away tips.

Another one of those that drives me crazy--I always have to stop and think, and I still get it wrong now and then--is a while vs. awhile. Here's the guidance I use:

When “awhile” is spelled as a single word, it is an adverb meaning “for a time” (“stay awhile”); but when “while” is the object of a prepositional phrase, like “Lend me your monkey wrench for a while” the “while” must be separated from the “a.” (But if the preposition “for” were lacking in this sentence, “awhile” could be used in this way: “Lend me your monkey wrench awhile.”)
Confusing, isn't it!

I also like your "test":
Is it the object of a preposition (often of "for"). If so, then it's two words.

Great site.

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