Are You Single?

by Cherie Tucker

September 2016

I’ve noticed frequently that people aren’t distinguishing between two-word expressions and single words that are said the same. Check these to make sure you aren’t guilty of choosing the wrong one in your writing.

Already means previously. I already set the table.

All ready means everything or everyone is set to go. We’re all ready for dessert.

Anytime refers to whenever. Call me anytime you get stuck.

Any time means any amount of time. It didn’t take any time to drive here.

Awhile describes the length of an action. It will have to cool awhile before we cut it.

A while is the name of that time. I haven’t seen him in quite a while.

Everyday means ordinary or common. It’s an everyday happening around here.

Every day means each day. That happens every day around here.

Everyone includes all of you. This cake is for everyone.

Every one refers to all of the individual singles. You eat every one of those beets.

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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