One of Two

by Cherie Tucker

June 2014

Let’s review of some of those pesky close-but-no-cigar uses that can mar your brilliant writing. Check these out to be sure you are using them all correctly:

Any more/Anymore: The first means additional items; the second refers to additional time.

If you don’t have any more to add than that I look fat, I won’t bother you anymore.

A while/Awhile: The first refers to the amount of time by name, making it a noun; the second is an adverb telling how long something lasts.

He said it would only take a while, so I waited awhile, but he didn’t show.

Every day/Everyday: The one with two words, every day, indicates that you are talking about something that happens each day or daily. Everyday as all one word means ordinary or commonplace.

Brush your teeth every day until it becomes an everyday ritual.

Every one/Everyone: Every one refers to separate things. Everyone, of course, refers to all of the people you are including.

Do you have to bring every one of those books? Everyone will think you’re crazy.

Onto/On to: While they may sound the same when you say them, the first one, onto, is a preposition that shows the relationship of one thing to another; on to has each word functioning independently.

He went onto the ledge.

He went on to write three more books.

We don’t have any more to look at now, so take a while every day to ensure that you get every one of these down before moving on to anything else.

Cherie Tucker, owner of GrammarWorks, has taught writing basics to professionals since 1987, presenting at the PNWA conference.  She currently teaches Practical Grammar for Editors at the University of Washington’s Editing Certification program and edits as well.


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